“Sometimes a fantasy is all you need…”
Sometimes a Fantasy by Billy Joel is from the seminal album Glass Houses. I must have listened to that album hundreds of times in the 1970s!
Before I get into the nitty gritty, I wrote last week I’d update you about working with the editors on my book Birth of a New Brain. I’m reviewing their feedback, and I’m editing every day for hours until I speak in tongues, but please, I ask you for an extension, because something else came up!
It all started yesterday with WhitePages Premium.
I was searching for author Martha Manning’s new email. She’s a psychologist who I interviewed via email in the 1990s for a magazine article. Manning wrote Undercurrents about her ECT experience, one of the best books I’ve read about ECT. I wanted to send her an ARC of my book to see if she might possibly endorse it. (I take breaks from editing to do that sort of thing.)
Well, it turned out that I found it impossible to find an active email for her, so I finally spent a whopping $1.00 for a five-day trial of WhitePages Premium. I plugged in Manning’s name and I was given not one, not two, but six emails for her, including the email that worked for me in the 90s, but all six emails are now stinkers! I was dismayed, to say the least.
Had I wasted my precious dollar???
It turns out I did not. WhitePages Premium gave me surprisingly accurate contact information for other professionals and even celebrities I’ve been in touch with over the years, so it wasn’t a sham.
I tell you this because:
a) You might want to use this resource.
b) I used it in a moment of weakness which I’d like to share here. Just to be clear, I don’t recommend that you do anything like what I contemplated doing. I want you to learn from my wicked ways!
Si vous plait, allow me to explain.
Some of you might remember my Bad Manners post.
In a nutshell, last year I was excited to learn that my college writing instructor’s play was being produced near my home. Despite my severe social anxiety, I went to the matinee and listened to her speak about the play afterward. It looked like she was doing well.
I made 100% sure she received a package I left for her at the box office.
I don’t usually do that kind of thing, but I had brought a letter and some gifts for her. After going to that trouble, I gave it to the stage manager because I didn’t want to bug my teacher, and I was freaked out in general.
I spent all afternoon writing that letter, thanking her for being a great influence on me as a writer. I filled her in on my writing career after college, my bipolar diagnosis & its harrowing aftermath, and my upcoming Post Hill Press book. I included my contact info.
I never got a thank-you, not even a one-liner email.
I know that when we give someone a gift, we should have no expectations. It shouldn’t be “tit for tat.” (Sorry, that’s a dumb phrase you won’t catch me uttering out loud, or writing again for that matter.)
But I still believe in my heart of hearts there’s no excuse for rudeness.
I wondered if my teacher now felt I wasn’t worth her time since she was no longer just my teacher, but someone who had partnered with one of the most famous and successful writers of our century. (By the way, I know how ridiculous this all sounds.) Maybe she didn’t want to associate with someone with bipolar, or someone who was a small potatoes writer like me. Maybe she had a crisis, right? Who knows.
I certainly don’t know.
I may be a mess of a human being, but I’ve tried my best to thank the kind people who popped up in my life no matter what their status has been.
So let’s go back to WhitePages Premium and see what all the fuss is about!
Believe it or not, I had forgotten about what happened with my teacher, but when I played around with WhitePages Premium, I put her name into the tabs. Up came several emails for her, plus her address which I already knew was accurate.
I wrote this draft:
I want to thank you so much for not thanking me for my letter and gifts. I was shocked I never got a reply because I don’t think you would have ignored my letter in 1991.
However, I learned a valuable lesson – I must have learned a lesson since you were one of the best teachers I ever had, but I just don’t know what the hell it is.
All my best,
PLEASE NOTE I DIDN’T SEND THAT GROSSLY IMMATURE EMAIL!
Plus, I read it to Craig and he talked me off the “I’m gonna press ‘send’ ledge.” Moreover, this teacher and I live in a small town, and I don’t think I should burn a bridge with her in that way. But dang, I was tempted to send it!
What would you do if this kooky scenario happened with a teacher you admired…who you connected with and never forgot even though you had sh*tloads of unilateral and bilateral ECT?
Let it go?
(That’s what my Frozen soundtrack-loving girls would sing at me!)
Thanks for reading, and have a good week!
Your friend who loves to air her brain’s dirty laundry
The first two lines sum it up so well:
“This is a story about two writers. A story, in other words, of envy.”
Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw (co-author of The Modern Management of Perinatal Psychiatry) will be published by Post Hill Press in October 2017.