For almost twenty years I have made the time to answer everybody who has written to me through Modern Drummer. A couple of times a year I would set aside a whole day and spend it reading these letters and writing out postcards in response -- at first by hand and later on the keyboard -- answering each letter individually and uniquely (i.e. no form letters).
By now the total of those responses would number in the thousands, but I was always able to keep up with them at my own pace. Because I was careful never to talk about it in interviews and such, the numbers stayed under control -- it remained "our little secret." Until now.
In the last year or so the number of letters has doubled or tripled all of the sudden, and although it might be flattering to consider this just a reflection of my ever-growing popularity, I know that's not the case.
All it took was a few people to go on the World-Wide GossipNet and start telling people that I had answered their letters through Modern Drummer, and the floodgates were open. These big mouths (or big fingers) have spoiled it for everyone.
Including me. Personally, I feel terrible about this situation, for it has always given me a glow of satisfaction to spend that time on a little bit of altruism -- knowing that I might bring a smile to these people's faces, or even encourage them a little bit. However, this is not something I want to devote my life to, and as I face the ever-growing pile of mail in the corner of my office, I know I will never again be able to keep up with it.
So to any of you whose personal messages and requests reside in that pile, I offer my sincere apologies for not answering them. This unfortunate consequence of the much-vaunted Inter-thingy is a shame, and I do regret it.
But hey -- it was good while it lasted!
Toronto, Ontario, Canada