04/07/2014 03:12 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Remembering Peter Matthiessen


When I was 21 years old, I headed off to Kathmandu with my Olivetti typewriter. My "plan" was to become a writer. I had been deeply influenced by Peter Matthiessen's book The Snow Leopard, which I had read in college.

I moved into the Kathmandu Guest House and began to write. But the first thing I wrote was a 20-page letter to Peter Matthiessen, telling him how much his book had motivated me to both go to Nepal and to write a book.

I mailed the letter off to Matthiessen.

Two weeks later, I got a thick envelope back form Metthiessen.

It was my letter.

But he had written across the front of it with thick red pen:

"If you want to write, write. But don't write to me"


Peter Matthiessen.