A year ago I wrote a brief note here on my blog wishing you a happy birthday. A lot has happened in this past year.
Looking back to a year ago, I feel like I had only just met you through your writing; but now I feel like I know you and understand you so much better. Through reading your stories and essays, writing about them here on my blog, and discussing them with others either in person or online, I have grown to have such an appreciation for the art and craft of your writing. Along the way, I have also come to know a very caring, sincere individual who forged deep connections with others through his writing.
And through this process of reading, discussing, and writing about your works, I have been given a rare and precious gift. The gift of finding my voice. As I have interacted with your writing, you have helped me better my own art and craft as a writer. For that, I am forever in your debt.
Happy birthday, Dave. And thank you for the gift your writing has given me.