An Open Letter to an Almost-Stranger


It was such a pleasure to sit next to you on my flight from Memphis to Washington, DC. I’m certain none of us expected to have had our 6:00 A.M. flight rescheduled to 8:45 A.M. Nor did any of us expect to have to sit on the tarmac at Reagan National, waiting for a bus to take us to the terminal. But, I’ve absolutely never had the enjoyable experience of sitting beside a heretofore complete stranger who would, as it turned out, share my passion for writing fiction.

As I said during those two hours, I have a deep and unbreakable love for my family and friends…but none of them truly understand what it’s like to look up and see a piece of sky or to slow down beside an overheard conversation and have a lightning bolt of inspiration strike. These moments occur unexpectedly, and at often inopportune times. That’s why we carry that always-handy notebook, and praise the noise-canceling feature on our Bose headphones.

It’s also why I hope you find the success in your story of the little boy, his Elvis hero, and the Moon over Memphis, the same way I hope to find my own success in my story of those two young lovers arguing on a West Country beach.

Even if you never read this, and we never cross paths again, I wish you a safe, happy journey full of the same love and support you feel now, and more. Your brief interaction made me remember why I do what I do, and why I love it so.

All the best from a fellow traveler,


13 thoughts on “An Open Letter to an Almost-Stranger

  1. Hi Mayumi


    It made me feel as if I had been you and you had been the stranger in the seat next to me on that horrific flight. It’s a very true statement as there are very few people, besides another author, who will totally understand how it feels to have strung thousands of individual words together to form something which has a very good storyline which can be enjoyed by literally thousands of potential readers.

    Robin Leigh Morgan – YA Romance Author
    “I Kissed a Ghost”


  2. Oh, you were not very far from me on your trip!

    I’ve not yet had the pleasure of running into a fellow writer in such circumstances. I bet it would be fun, though, to talk with a stranger who shares that inescapable need to set down a story or to see potential characters in the people around us.

    I hope Craig enjoyed the encounter as much as you did and perhaps took some inspiration away from it. πŸ™‚


    • I did think of you, JM! Unfortunately (or, perhaps fortunately), I wasn’t at National for long. πŸ˜‰

      I’d never imagined to sit next to someone also aspiring to be a fiction writer. I’m certain I must have looked like a grinning fool! πŸ˜€

      Thanks – I hope Craig found some kind of inspiration, too.


  3. Lovely post Mayumi. It’s the unexpected meetings that make traveling such an adventure. I remember the chat I had with a finance student in line at customs when I was traveling in Asia. Those chance encounters sometimes change the course of the day. πŸ™‚


    • Thanks, Kourtney. I’ve always enjoyed the unexpected in my writing and reading, but living it has often had its ups and downs. I was so thrilled this one was an all-up. πŸ˜€


  4. This made me smile, Mayumi!
    For two reasons:
    1. You found something lovely in the midst of what most people would just complain about (delayed flight, hassle, etc)
    2. No doubt your seatmate was just as delighted to have met you -fellow writers unite!!!


  5. This was so gorgeous, Mayumi! It reminded me of all the brief encounters I had had – how amazing they are, because somehow you end up opening yourself up in a way not normally done. Those connections are powerful. It makes me think that these meetings are put there at key stages in our life, just to give us the boost we need to go on xx


    • Thank you, Gabriela! This was indeed one of those wonderful little moments I needed: to feel that spiritual connection with another struggling artist, as well as to remind myself why I love so much what I do. πŸ™‚


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