This morning I received a note from a woman I’ve never met. We connected on a LinkedIn discussion and she asked about my memoir. Short version, I shipped her a couple copies and she and her sister read them at the same time.
Here’s what she wrote:
Hi Anne. Although I wrote a discussion feed (9-10 days ago) about your book, it hit me today that I wanted to write directly to you…. For me, reading your essays zinged my spirit. I laughed out loud and even had a few tearful moments. I had become more at rest within my own skin yet, after reading those essays, there was a settling-in related to body comfortability. Truly, I do not think there are any pockets of body hatred left (in me)!
Her letter resonated on every level. Sure, it’s a fan letter from a complete stranger.Woo-hoo, Hurray for me!! But it’s so much more, a thread on the warp of the universal blanket we’re all creating together. Her act of kindness in reaching out to me on a drizzly winter morning gave me encouragement. I write in part to create community for those wounded by body image, estrangement or lack of direction. D--’s words reminded me that my words matter. I like to think it's a pay-it-forward thing for all the reviews I've written for other authors.
She went on:
As for my sister, C--, she wanted me to tell you that ORDINARY APHRODITE "made me come alive!. C-- sees the good all around her and enjoys interacting with others. Life has not been easy for her. She had experienced soulful healing of most old wounds and makes no bones about her spiritual strength. Specifically, C-- wanted me to tell you, "Your essays cleansed my soul, made me feel better about myself than ever before. Thank You!"
Whoa. And SHE thinks I’m the writer? Communication comes in many forms. Performance art, Visual art, written art, intuitive, auditory, physical touch; if it touches the heart, it’s communication.
There’s a saying that bounces around from writer’s workshop to writer’s workshop—Nonfiction is about facts, but Fiction is about truth. For me, Memoir is a bit of each--and more. It combines fact in a subjective way that reveals the truth of the writer’s heart, soul and humanity. A memorist connects with the universal “us” or there’s no point in publishing. Without this connection the writing is a private path for healing. (A great reason for writing memoir, by the way.)
I feel like making everyone feel connected is payback for junior high. I make a point to notice young teens, to remind them that they’re special and wonderful. Someone needs to, and I personally think it’s the job of us Village Crones, the old ladies-around-the-campfire telling the stories and passing on the tribal lore.
I have this theory about my writing—I show what it feels like to be unblocked.
Lots of people are blocked. (It may be a Western Hemisphere and Brunai thing.) They feel like they need MORE. More money, more shoes, more sex, more booze, or whatever it is that makes them happy. Just fill them up until they say “When!” But they’re blocked so nothing ever feels like enough. I’ve made it my journey to become unblocked. Compared to a few years ago, I can take an amazingly little amount of—whatever—food, money, talent, (shoes) or opportunity and it feels like enough. Whatever I have passes through my writing fingers and comes out big enough to share.
This is the secret to success. Unblock the creative flow. Loosen the heart strings. Add a thread to the universal blanket. Proverbs says it best: Give away all the talents and more will come. God loves a cheerful giver.
I hate to admit it, but ORDINARY APHRODITE doesn’t contain the keys to the kingdom. It’s just a humorous, relaxing way to voyeur (can that be a verb?) into my life and see if anything works for you. Hey, I have plenty—help yourself. And if you find anything, I’d love it if you drop me a line.
So what about you? Have you ever written a fan letter? Received one? Wanna share how it made you feel?