Oh, hi! I totally forgot to mention to you all here that I’ve started a newsletter — or as I’ve been calling it, a letter from me to you. Really, it’s a love letter.
So far I’ve been sending out weekly dispatches about life, love, food, politics, books, TV, podcasts (so many podcasts!), motherhood, and I’d be delighted if you wanted to sign up. My mom wrote me a long email with all the questions: Why a tiny letter? Why not do it here, on your website? Can I write you back there? Are my replies public? Do I need to go find your gmail? Do you think people will find it and sign up!?
So: The reason it’s a Tiny Letter and not here, on my website, is because, as you can read in the first email, I love letters. Love them. It’s how I’ve always communicated with my friends and family, it’s how I met and fell in love with my husband. It’s how I think through problems and work out essays. There’s something intimate, precious and private about them, even when they are not written out by hand. When I found Tiny Letter I thought: what a quaint and lovely pocket of the internet. (Rare thought.)
And to answer the more practical questions: Yes, you can write me back directly on Tiny Letter. No, your replies aren’t public. Yes, I do write everyone back!
See that mash of sweaty bodies above? One of them could be you! Go to Dance Church and you will see what I mean. It is THE BEST. It’s so much the best thing that I wrote about it for Dance Magazine. But you don’t have to be a dancer to go! That’s the entire point! Read about it all here.
Can I tell you a story about how some essays come into being?
I first wrote this piece, about my grandfather’s death and the secret I didn’t know about his work and his life, in college, oh, 20+ years ago. I wrote it as fiction, because it was a fiction-writing class and I didn’t know that I wasn’t really a fiction writer and I figured, what the hell? Who will know this is all true?
Over a decade later, I resurrected it for a workshop in graduate school, this time in its proper memoir form. Then, a few months ago, I decided to take a look at it again, make a few more changes, and send it off.
So what you’re reading here — or what you will read here, please and thank you so much! — is a piece that started in 1999 and is now seeing the light of day in 2019. Sometimes this is how it goes.
I’m standing outside my local fire station in West Los Angeles, while my 5-year-old runs in, a bag of warm homemade cookies in her small hand.
Twenty-four hours earlier we were at the beach in Playa Del Rey, having one of those obnoxiously California moments — a gathering of families lounging near the ocean with coffee, watching our kids dig in the sand and run from the waves. It was unseasonably warm (what else is new?), and we could see the smoke from the fires all around us, but it all felt rather far off.
I wrote about what my daughter and I do when the world is falling apart and we are desperate to help. Thanks to the Washington Post for publishing this one. Read on here. (And here are some other ways to help.)