Maria Dahvana Headley wrote this memoir called THE YEAR OF YES. It made me happy, so I wrote her an e-mail note thanking her, which I'm posting below. She wrote me back.
Read her book. It's good.
I'm afraid this might sound unoriginal or saccharine to you, but your book - which I just finished reading after taking it episode by episode for over a month - tapped into some part of my brain and my heart, which I keep guarded, and deposited hope within both. Hope is a lovely, dangerous thing for me, but I'm very happy to find it where and when I can. It's nice when someone encourages you to open up parts of yourself that you'd shut down. It's good to be reminded, after years of hurt and some typical and atypical bad experiences, that your only real chance at happiness is to throw yourself arms-open into what life offers you.
I'm writing you this while crying slightly. I hope that doesn't make me sound like a total pussy, for I'm happy about reading your book, but I'm crying because the memoir just reinforced for me what the life I want looks like. Right now, it doesn't look like the life I have. But my life changes for the better everyday, and your book was one of the things that makes me actively try new things and occasionally lovely risks.
I've written you before. I'm the bookstore worker who has the same birthday as you, even though I'm a year older than you are. You wrote me about that when I signed on to the Memoirist Collective.
I'm tempted to give you my list of labels, the things that shut me down and keep me from hoping about love. But I imagine you hear that sort of thing a lot - particularly after writing a memoir like yours. Much as I'd like to think my walls are unique and want to own my pain, everyone has something they can fix.
In the improv class that I'm currently taking, they've been teaching us that skits have more places to go when you say yes to the offers you've been given. This lesson I'm still learning, as it contradicts my usual sarcasm and bitter, supposedly clever retorts. Your book reinforced that lesson nicely.
I want to improve my skits. And I want to improve my life. And I want real romance with a nice guy who loves me the way I love him. I want the love I deserve. I enjoy thinking of myself as someone who deserves love and is worthy of it.
Your book is great, funny, nice, romantic and resonant. It took me a while to read it because there was much in it that I wanted to absorb into my personality. I liked the attitude. I liked how brazen many of the situations became.
But my favorite part was the hope.
That made my day! (Week!) (Year!)
You don't sound like a total pussy, or like a pussy at all. Hell, I'm a believer full on in that love is all there is, and that includes loving yourself, loving the people around you, and yeah, throwing yourself at life as hard as you can. I'm so happy that you felt my book. I can tell you really read it, as opposed to just the surface skim, and that means a lot to me.
And I'm happy you're going forth into your life with more hope than you'd had. I got lucky, really, I was born an optimist. Even though I've been caustic at times, and definitely sometimes too sarcastic and judgmental for my own good, I do have a belief in the idea that if I put positive energy out into the world, it will come back. It's been true, even though there've been plenty of hard things along the way. I wouldn't trade my life for anyone else's, though, and I think ultimately, being at that place draws the kind of people I like into my life. I bet that's true for you too.
And you're a June 21st baby too, so I bet you share some traits with me!
Big love at you - and I know you'll find someone who you love, and who loves you. The world is too full of wonderful people, and you are one yourself. There is someone out there. Probably lots of someones.
And yes - I love Michael Chabon. Big time. Anytime you want to push my book on the man, I'm grateful!
Joy to you!
Thanks for writing.