Sometimes we get emails that are so good we just can’t keep them to ourselves. This email from Jonny in Brighton is one of those. We post it here with his kind permission.
Dear all at the Office of Letters and Light,
In 2009, prompted by a customer at Borders in Leeds, UK, where I worked at the time, I signed up to NaNoWriMo.org for the first time. Not four days into my time looking around the forums, gathering ideas for my first novel and checking out other people’s synopses, I received some NaNoMail from a Bay Area, CA resident named Kristina Casto who was looking for overseas writing buddies and a chance to share her previous three years’ NaNo experience. We got talking on MSN messenger and shortly after on Skype, and soon realised we had much more in common than we thought. By the time NaNoWriMo 2009 was over, Kristina already had plans to visit me in the UK, and we knew we were looking at something special. (Incidentally, I still want to finish my novel from that year, which involved a religion based around the music of David Bowie. It’ll happen one of these days.)
Kristina spent three months with me here in the UK, and by the time she went home we knew we couldn’t stay apart for long. The next opportunity to see each other in person came around September of 2010, when I flew out to California to stay with her and a friend for four months. Whilst there, we headed to San Francisco for the 2010 Night Of Writing Dangerously, and had an absolutely awesome night (and our fair share of the candy buffet). Shortly before that, however, we’d taken a trip north and I’d asked Kristina to marry me. By the time NoWD came around, we’d been engaged for a month. We talked to Chris Baty and Sarah Mackey and it was fantastic to tell people we’d met through NaNoWriMo.
I left for the UK in January, and we started making plans for Kristina’s next visit to the UK—permanently! Kristina came over to Brighton, where we now live, and we planned our wedding. Our invitation (designed by my best man, who is a giant bad-ass) was made to look like a classic Penguin Books cover, and the table centrepieces at the wedding were book-themed.
We were married, surrounded by family and friends, on Saturday September 17th 2011—almost two years after we’d met for the first time on the NaNoWriMo forums. Now, six weeks on from that, Kristina’s UK visa has been approved and we’re working our way into our third year of NaNoWriMo together.
Thank you for bringing together two people (and surely a few more out there!) who might never have met otherwise. Nothing can quite describe the sense of joy I get from re-telling this whole story to you guys, so I’m going to get back to writing bleak dystopia before this email throws me off my game! :D
With unfathomable thanks and love,
Jonny Casto-Ardern and Kristina Casto-Ardern