The Daily Rumpus: The continuation of the story

C360_2012-02-09_07-03-36

 

I’ve been reading a daily email from Stephen Elliot, author of The Adderall Diaries.  I met Stephen at the Sun Writers retreat a couple seasons back.  His personal, transparent approach has felt comforting, though disturbing and confusing at times. He edits “The Rumpus” writers website.

Sometimes I write back to him…

———- Forwarded message ———

From: “Ocean” <fireworksvenue@gmail.com>
Date: Feb 9, 2012 8:23 AM
Subject: The continuation of the story

Stephen, let me begin by saying I am really appreciating the near-daily emails.  I’d written you a few times, and remember asking for more…

The thing you wrote about the emails continuing the book, the story, struck a chord.

I’ve been going through a painful transition, separating from a partner of over 20 years, yet without hatred or betrayal.  More the relationship shifted, the passion cooled, we acknowledged we weren’t good matches as lovers.  Now the complicated business of becoming friends, now for the first time, it seems.  I wasn’t a good friend before, as her husband.  Too much control, arguing, arrogance, distance.

I’ve keep a personal journal for 30 years, and my journaling is what brought me to Esalen where I met you at the writer’s retreat. My journal is choppy, huge gaps at times, especially when I’m embroiled is some addiction of sorts – usually relationship addiction – have you ever looked up the Wiki on ‘limerence’?  Stunning, describes my whole love life – the chaos, the dependency, the tragedy.  Why I was so controlling, arrogant, desperate.

So here I am, picking up the pieces of my broken heart, my broken spirit.  Starting to write again.  A new chapter?  A broken timeline, yet a continuation of the story.

Thanks for your honesty, your daring to be real.  Authentic. You are inspiring me to continue on.

Peace,
Ocean

Http://vintagebicycleodyssey.com

On Jan 30, 2012 6:36 AM, “Stephen Elliott” <stephen@stephenelliott.com> wrote:
>
> I got two emails today about The Adderall Diaries. One was from someone who was insulted that I’d said you should read the book if you were receiving these emails but who had reconsidered and was no longer upset. The other was from someone who considered herself a fan (which is flattering and nice and I appreciate it). She subscribed to The Daily Rumpus because she read The Adderall Diaries and says it’s like the book never ended; the emails are a continuation. Which is something I hadn’t really thought of before.
>
> Not an addendum but a continuation, even as things change.
>
> Before The Adderall Diaries was released I put together a lending library. If you agreed to forward the book within a week to the next person on the list you could read an advance copy for free. Except it wasn’t really free, since you’d have to forward it to the next person at your own expense; and you had a responsibility to read the book quickly. There was a buy-in. 400 people signed up and there were 50 advance copies of the book crossing the country (and a few in Europe). Each time someone read the book they would sign the inside cover before passing it along. On the whole I’d say people were only slightly less responsible about this than I expected. Some requested the book though knew in their heart they weren’t the type to put an address on it and a stamp and stick it in a postbox. We all have limitations.
>
> When the book was released Dave Eggers told me I should go on a book tour and much as I respect his judgement, perhaps more than anyone except for Ben, and Ben is more of a moral barometer than anything, I couldn’t stand the idea of another book tour. Instead I said I would do readings in people’s homes as long as they could get twenty of their friends to attend and I could sleep on their couch.
>
> In retrospect the book tour was not a smashing success but it wasn’t a failure. It was like the lending library that way. On a scale of one to ten, ten being a smashing success and one being a failure, the book tour and the lending library were sevens. Both of them more successful than The Adderall Diaries app and less successful than Letters In The Mail. I went to 33 cities, did 75 events or more, got a lot of local press publicity, and hand-sold at least 1,200 hardcover books. I made a profit, but not a large one, the book sales funded my bus tickets and plane trips. I saw America in a new light. And then snapped.
>
> I wrote about the book tour for the Times.
>
> I thought of the book tour, like I think of the emails now, as an extension of the book itself. The emails also have a buy-in. The reader is giving up space in their email box, which is part of what makes The Daily Rumpus so different from a blog. Jack Kerouac said he was working on one very long book and publishing chapters of his life in letters and print. Everything was part of that larger work. I like that. I was thinking that you should approach marketing with the same creativity you put into writing; allow yourself to be engaged. But it’s more complicated. It’s all of a piece. That’s when I started thinking that creativity is creative problem solving. There was no other kind. That was the link between the novelist and small business owner. And that was why artists had always skipped between mediums like stones on a lake.
>
> **
>
> Roxane Gay interviews Alex Gilvarry.
>
> Also, Julie Greicius has been editing essays and interviews for The Rumpus since the beginning and makes so much of the writing on the site so much better. I thought I would put that out there.
>
> **
>
> Hope that wasn’t sappy, that stones on a lake thing.
>
> xoxox
>
> stephen
>
> p.s. I do believe that the reader is always doing the writer a favor. That’s the balance of power and there’s no use fighting it.
>
>  
> To subscribe send an email to: the-daily-rumpus+subscribe@googlegroups.com
>  
> For more options, visit this group at
> http://groups.google.com/group/the-daily-rumpus?hl=en

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