Just a thought… Say yes, and you’ll figure it out afterwards. [Tina Fey]
I told you here yesterday of my shower “A-ha” moment (and it had nothing to do with getting minty shampoo where it shouldn’t go, although that’s happened). Last week as I was going through the one of the final edits of my book, taking care of legal requests that I get permission to mention this or that, I was ready just to delete a part of the book that meant a lot to me. In her Homage to Age and Femininity, published in O magazine, American novelist Anne Lamott summed up our lives and our future beautifully:
You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectlythat still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.
I thought it was so perfect: dancing with a limp. I couldn’t describe our lives better than Anne did right there and wanted to include that excerpt in my book. But, of course, it was flagged by the legal department at HarperCollins as needing permission (even though we credited the publication, etc.). If you ever wonder why a book is $30 it’s because the team that works on it is huge. It takes a village, that’s for sure!
So, with the deadline looming and hardly a prayer it would work, I just threw it out there on Twitter:
I put that out on Saturday. The next morning, I awoke to a tweet that made me yelp; I’m sure Rob thought the coffee was too hot or something. Here’s what it said:
How incredible and generous is that? We’re so thrilled. Just because I asked.
That gave me the courage to leave a voicemail and to email a Texas lawyer who wrote a book that inspired me well over a decade ago. Titled A Thinking Person’s Guide to Sobriety, it offered perspectives I’d never considered at the time, and I often still do. Even though years back I sent a “fan email” to Bert Pluymen and didn’t hear back (not that I expected to) I decided to give it a shot. I called and wrote seeking permission to include information about his book. He wrote back the same evening with a big yes:
You absolutely have permission to do what you propose in the manner you describe. I admire your passion and perseverance in bringing your book project to fruition and look forward to reading it.
Kindest regards, Bert Pluymen.
See, once again, all you have to do is ask. We’ve been so blessed all the way along here and learning new lessons as we go. The biggest one out of these exchanges? The incredible power of those three little letters: Y-E-S.
Talk to you here tomorrow. Yes?