Dear Future Self: You Won’t Always Be Alone

Flowers in a mason jar

On a shelf.

Going into my first surgery was scary and lonely, even if it was just to get my tonsils out. I’d been putting it off for months. So, I did what any woman who’d spent her childhood writing in diaries would do: I wrote myself a letter.

My plan was to read it after surgery, when I expected to be blackly depressed from the anesthesia. Remember, this dark feeling won’t last forever. I was a little embarrassed by my sentiment, but I was going into the operation already feeling low. I had just returned from an ill-fated trip to England to see if a friend and I could start a romance. While there, I came down with my umpteenth infection, finally accepted that I needed to have my tonsils cauterized, and painfully absorbed another romantic disappointment.

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Look at the landscape: Evaluating an iffy relationship

The thing about a bad signal is that it’s often about geography. As in, there is a mountain in the way or you’re in the middle of nowhere. But instead of reflecting on the landscape you blame your phone.

The same is true of relationships.

Let’s say the dude you’re dating leaves a voicemail. You’ve been waiting to hear from him for a while. For weeks. But the signal is cut off and all you hear is, “I’m sorry. I should’ve told you months ago. Bye.”

Before you blame your phone and hyperactively imagine every possible preceding sentence to his send-off, reflect on the landscape. Why did he wait this long to call? Has he done it before? Is he often saying he’s sorry?

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Book club questions: If You Have to Ask

Last week I was delighted to discuss (actually, listen to others discuss) If You Have to Ask, as the featured author at a local book club. While it was invigorating to hear smart, thoughtful women discuss the characters and their (often not-so-smart) choices, it was also nerve-wracking. It takes a solid stomach to put your work out there, as most authors and artists agree. Luckily someone brought some pinot.

Here are the questions we discussed, below. I was also asked if the book is autobiographical. The short answer is no (which is ultimately the long answer, too). But of course, all writers borrow from life. Trying to parse that is a losing battle though.

Warning! There are a couple spoilers here…

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