Dear Min Jin Lee,
The first time I met you was in February 2017 when you came to Tattered Cover for a signing of Pachinko. I’ll be honest, I didn’t know who you were and I wasn’t familiar with your books. I hadn’t read Pachinko then, but I jumped at the opportunity to help out with your event because I was excited to see an Asian female writer, and I needed to meet you.
Thank you for being so kind and so personable that day. I never forgot it.
You wrote “we are sisters” in my copy of Pachinko and it really touched me. For a few months after that I carried your book around with me everywhere I went, not only so I could read it whenever I could, but because I just wanted to have it with me.
Fast forward to February 2018 and we met again at Writers Respond to Readers. After being on a nonstop book tour, with more months of it ahead of you, you remembered me after almost a year. You greeted me like we were old friends.
I remember talking to you about Thailand, where my grandmother was from, and how I thought a large majority of people have this gross misconception that it’s a dirty place, which has always bothered me. I remember the way you furrowed your eyebrows and shook your head repeatedly, assuring me that Thailand is very beautiful and that I need visit. That really meant a lot coming from you. Then we talked in length about mangosteen, and it was probably the most interesting dinner conversation I’ve had in a while.
At the event, I mentioned that I forgot to bring my book so you could sign it again. You immediately bought me another copy of Pachinko and what did you write it in it? We are sisters.
It may have taken you a long time to write Pachinko, but I’m so glad you never gave up on it. Someday I would like to be a writer, too. It’s taking me a long time and I’m not where I thought I would be at this point in my life, but that’s okay. I have you to look up to. Your passion and your success has inspired me to keep writing.
Pachinko is an important piece of literature for the Asian community and something that the world desperately needed. I, and many others, can’t thank you enough for that. You once said you didn’t know any writers who looked like you, but now you’re helping pave the way for upcoming writers who do.
Until we meet again,