Dear four-years-ago Tawni,
I know you’re tired, and it seems like no one gives a shit about your work, and people make fun of you and call you crazy, and you’ve been banging your head against a brick wall for 20 years, and it hasn’t budged. I know you are about to give up.
But FYI, right after you posted this, you got an agent and sold your first novel to Simon & Schuster. It was A Handful of Dust, that book that got rejected by every publishing house in America 15 years ago. It’s called Beauty of the Broken now. (Editors at major publishing houses are really good at coming up with titles. Also, they are super cool and take you to lunch sometimes when you’re in New York.) It won awards.
People you’ve never met ask you questions about Mara and Iggy all the time. Your characters don’t live in your desk drawer with the dust bunnies anymore. They live in the hearts and minds of many. You got several fan letters about the book just today. You drove to see a performance of it in Sacramento in December. There is talk of making it into a movie. (Keep your fingers crossed for us.)
Your second novel comes out this fall.
And we’re working on more. (Downside: you still haven’t published your rock-n-roll novel. But we’ll make it happen. You know how we are. We don’t give up on things we love.)
You travel the world speaking and teaching other people to write their truths. No more being a groupie for you. People pay to hear what YOU have to say. You spoke on a panel with freaking Naomi Klein last week. No, I’m not full of shit. It’s true. It’s only February, and you’ve already taught in Sicily and Mexico this year. You love your students because they teach you more than you will ever teach them.
You get a snazzy red fur hat in Sicily and leave a the biggest orange you’ve ever seen at the temple of Persephone, just to say hi.
The moral of the story: Just because you’ve banged your head against a brick wall for 20 years and it hasn’t budged doesn’t mean you should stop. Your next head butt might just bring the whole sucker to the ground, Jericho style.
Never give up on your destiny. Never.
P.S. I’m pretty sure you somehow got this letter from me, way back then, because even over all the noise in your head, something in your heart was screaming that you were about to win. You listened. You should listen to me more often. I know things. Like this: wear sunscreen every minute of every day, particularly on the left side of our face during road trips. The left side of our face is now evidence that you followed a rock band all over kingdom come for 20 years. I resent you for our wrinkles. The right side still looks ok. Our teeth are still white, thank God. We are still vain as hell. We still like wine too much. We still prefer Netflix marathons to jogging. We are working on it.