Power of the pen

Nathan Beachy surprised his wife Rachel with letters from her favorite authors to encourage her to continue writing. Photo: The Washington Post.

For his 1-year wedding anniversary, Nathan Beachy wanted nothing more than to help his wife Rachel regain her lifelong devotion to writing.

“Writing has always been part of who I am,” said Rachel, whose authorly ambitions had faded into the demands of life while Nathan finished medical school and she supported him.

Nathan turned to the experts to encourage Rachel; she had written her first short story in kindergarten and continued through college, when she wrote a novella. He created a spreadsheet of more than 30 authors, including Rachel’s favorites, wrote to them and included a stamped return envelope addressed to his parents’ house.

Letter replies came from Rufi Thorpe, Meg Wolitzer, Chris Bohjalian, Gerald Toner, David Nicholls and others. Nathan packaged them for Rachel’s anniversary gift.

“It was the most surreal experience of my entire life,” Rachel told The Washington Post, which featured the Indianapolis, IN, couple’s story on its Christmas Day front page.

Rachel started writing again the morning after receiving the letters and has since completed a trilogy of three complete novels. She would like to have them published eventually, but says the real goal is the writing. Which the special letters helped her achieve.