This letter has taken an extraordinary time getting itself together. I have all along known that I wanted to tell you directly of some of the lessons I have learned and under what conditions I have learned them.
My life has been long, and believing that life loves the lovers of it, I have dared go try many things, sometimes trembling, but daring, still. I have only included here events and lessons which I have found useful. I have not told how I have used the solutions, knowing that you are intelligent and creative and resourceful and you will use them as you see fit.
You will find in this book accounts of growing up, unexpected emergencies, a few poems, some light stories to make you laugh and some to make you meditate.
There have been people in my life who meant me well, taught me valuable lessons, and others who have meant me ill and, have given me ample notification that my world is not meant to be all peaches and cream.
I have made many mistakes and no doubt will make more before I die. When I have seen pain, when I have found that my ineptness has caused displeasure, I have learned to accept my responsibility and to forgive myself first, then to apologize to anyone injured by my mis reckoning. Since I cannot unlive history, and repentance is all I can offer God, I have hopes that my sincere apologies were accepted.
You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them. Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud. Do not complain. Make every effort to change things you do not like. If you cannot make a change, change the way you have been thinking. You might find a new solution.
Never whine. Whining lets a brute know that a victim is in the neighbourhood.
Be certain that you do not die without have done something wonderful for humanity.
I gave birth to one child, a son, but I have thousands of daughters. You are black and white, Jewish and Muslim, Asian, Spanish-speaking, Native American and Aleut. You are fat and thin and pretty and plain, gay and straight, educated and unlettered, and I am speaking to you all. Here is my offering to you."
There are no Jack Kerouacs or Holden Caulfields for girls. Literary girls don’t take road-trips to find themselves; they take trips to find men.
"Great" books, as defined by the Western canon, didn’t contain female protagonists I could admire. In fact, they barely contained female protagonists at all."
I sat at your feet;
metaphorically, of course, only metaphorically;
as I remember it, I sat on the couch,
as you, with your strangely lilting voice,
held my hand and walked me through;
the pitiless steps of the reverent ritual.
You were so gentle
as you wrapped the tourniquet around my bicep;
laughed at the expression on my face
pinched the crook of my arm
to bruise and raise a vein.
and as you slid the needle in and we watched the blood
cloud the water inside,
you apologized, profusely,
for the infinitesimal pinprick
that precedes the rapture.
I swore to you,
in that ghastly and gorgeous moment,
this is how it would always be;
that you would be there,
by my side, every time,
to guide me down the path of night.
But like the other oaths that passed between us,
this too, was a hopeful lie.
The day came, as it was
destined to do,
that you were gone;
in the fashion required
for you to get by;
and the pull of oblivion
proved stronger, by far,
than either love or trust or art,
so I took the syringe and
not to need you anymore."