For Lenore on her birthday.
I recently developed a three-step program to justify the “lucky” and “chosen” in the oft-heard phrase, “You were so lucky to be adopted. You were chosen!” modeled after the 93-day Write or Die journey I took last year that culminated with the completion of my memoir, “You Don’t Look Adopted”, a book that currently has two one-star, one two-star, one three-star, one four-star, and fifty-one five-star reviews. Not that I’m counting.
Because my own sense of self was so radically changed for the better by my Write or Die experience (I’m real! I told my story!), I convinced The Powers That Be if an adoptee has the time and permission (yes, many adoptees are afraid their interest in the past will hurt the feelings of others) to research and write the story of her life (starting from the BEGINNING, instead of from the traditional adoptee narrative “The day we got you…”), then adoptees will have the same foundation as other Americans who were not relinquished as infants or children. For, as we all know, America is based on equality, and The Powers That Be want adoptees to have the same rights to their stories of origins (and…heavy throat clear…to their original birth certificates) as pretty much everyone else on the planet has.
A writer you deeply admire will be paid to offer you his or her domicile for 93 days. In my case, I had the East Village apartment of Kitty Stockett, author of The Help. It was nicer than any place I had ever stayed in my life, and for almost three months, it was mine. Kitty had written parts of The Help there, a book I love, and I felt fed by the walls, the soft carpets, by the light that came in from the windows. My world, in that apartment, told me: You are a writer. You are cherished. Now write.
The fact that I was writing about my life and that I had, most likely, been both conceived and delivered blocks from Kitty’s apartment, was coincidence. The fact that I hadn’t spent more than a day in New York City since I was ten months old didn’t dull the fact that as soon as I got there, I felt I was home. The city smelled familiar. People’s accents were familiar. As was the speed with which they walked.
Take note of above facts when you are considering your destination. Think of it as your power source where you can plug into the strength of your own voice. Bring a fan. It's going to get hot.
The author of your choice will receive one million dollars from The Powers That Be.
You will have a Yoda who believes in your project possibly more than you do. Each day your Yoda will wait for you to send that day’s pages, and each day your Yoda will call or text, praising your work, asking you questions, calling you to task, telling you, over and over and over, You are loved, and What you are writing is so important. Your Yoda will be the Gordan Lish to Raymond Carver, only possibly less invasive to your style. Your Yoda will let you breathe while he or she cheers you wildly to the finish line.
My Yoda was HBL who was the first person I'd ever encountered who never tired of conversation revolving around adoption. He asked questions. He took me seriously He made me feel like a million bucks, and for this, he will be happy to know, The Powers That Be, have already put a million dollar check in his Vimeo account because helping another person recognize their inherent strengths is the bomb.
(Now maybe he will feel free enough to write his own book. The one I am desperate to read.)
Your Yoda will receive one million dollars from The Powers That Be. (Because you’re worth it. And so is Yoda.)
Upon completion of said manuscript (your story), you will receive one million dollars and a publishing deal where you have final say on the book’s cover.
(This was not something I got, but it would have been really nice. Self-publishing is complicated and my book has annoying errors in it that I don’t know how to fix. But I’m flipping happy and proud of myself for doing the one thing I thought I couldn’t do: write about adoption.)
There is no application process. Just head to THE HOUSE OF THE POWERS THAT BE any time after noon tomorrow, Friday, January 13, 2017 (13 is the new lucky) to claim your prize. You just need to show you have an amended birth certificate or that some time in your life you were told you were lucky to be adopted or that you were chosen. You know the deal. Say you don’t know your health history, you know, that kind of stuff.
Know Your Story. Know Your Self.
Write or Die.