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Dear Ones –
Two life lessons about Karaoke for you this morning.
On my birthday last year, some friends and I went out for Karaoke, because I love Karaoke. (The photo below is me singing FAITHFULLY by Journey. Because I truly love that song.) Anyhow, my friend Jimi got up to sing WALK LIKE AN EGYPTIAN, and although he wasn't overly familiar with that particular song, and he didn't really manage to hit all the notes, he sang it with all his heart. As he sang, he also danced with genuine passion and joy. It was awesome. After he was done, I congratulated Jimi on his amazing performance and he said, "The only want to NOT look like a fool when you do Karaoke is to show up for it 100%."
I just heard a story last night about this hipster dude, who was doing a cross-country road trip across America, and who liked to entertain himself on the road by going into dumb Karoake bars all across the country and singing mocking renditions of songs he really hated, just to make himself laugh. Then one night, somewhere in Iowa, an old farmer came up to the hipster after he had fake-sung some Elton John song, and said, "Don't." The hipster was confused, but the farmer clarified: "Whatever it is you're doing up there when you sing, don't. Don't do that anymore. The people who come to this bar work really hard, and they come seeking a real emotional release. They choose songs to sing because they genuinely love those songs — because those songs make them happy, or sad, or because the songs remind them of some part of their life that had meaning. What you're doing, on the other hand, is just mockery. Don't." And the hipster dude was humbled and schooled, and maybe after that he became a tiny bit less of a total jackass.
In life, as in Karaoke, the only way NOT to make a fool out of yourself is to show up 100%.
And the only way to access your humanity — or anyone else's — is to be an earnest person.
Show up, and be earnest.
That's the formula, right there.
Then shut your eyes and just sing your heart out.
GIVE THE GIFT OF A BOOK THIS CHRISTMAS!
Dear Ones –
My wonderful UK publishers at Bloomsbury Publishing UK have just made this gorgeous and clever little video, about the love of books.
Watch it if you can — it's so sweet.
So many great quotes from authors…including my quote at the end!
ONWARD forever into the love of reading!
Give the gift of a book this Christmas
We wanted to make a video that reminded people of the power of reading and the importance of great writing. We realised that the authors we publish – from Sh…
So very true.
No matter how much time I spend trying to prettify my past, it never seems to change in the least!
But the future…ah, the future. The future we can work with…
#TBT — Kenya, 1989
Dear Ones –
Here I am with a friend in Africa, in 1989. I was twenty years old. I had saved my money for two years to go on this trip to Kenya for a month, where I worked on a wild game refuge, studying the habits of scavenging birds.
That's where I met this cheetah, who had been discovered as a baby (its mother killed by poachers) and who had adopted the human family who owned the game ranch.
The cheetah's name was Duma, and he was absolutely lovely. Cheetahs tend not to be very aggressive, because they basically have no predators and no serious competitors. (If they don't like a situation, trust me, they can just LEAVE…really fast. And if another animal takes their kill, they can just go catch another one. Must be nice, being the fastest animal in the world. Makes for a relaxed life.)
What I remember about this moment was that I had just gotten the courage to pet Duma, and he had just started purring, and it had scared the shit out of me. (A cheetah's purr sounds alarmingly like a growl.) But all he wanted was more petting. Pretty soon he was rubbing his head against me, like a domesticated tabby. It was one of the great encounters of my life.
Years later, I discovered that the owners of the ranch had written this book about Duma:
My cheetah friend — like me — had gotten into publishing!
It's a small and wonderful world.
"Hi. Do you love to laugh? I'm Liz Gilbert, and I'm here to recommend a book."
Dear Ones –
Please go buy yourself a copy of TEXTS FROM JANE EYRE, written by Mallory Ortberg, who is such a genius that I can barely even handle it.
It's hilarious, but it's especially hilarious if you 1) love literary classics, and 2) you spend a lot of time texting.
(Which describes me perfectly. And maybe also describes you?)
So here's what Mallory does: She takes famous literary classics and re-imagines them as text conversations.
Which is how you suddenly get Edward Rochester desperately texting Jane Eyre, begging her to come back to him, and to run off to France with him. She refuses. He texts:
"I KNEW IT.
DID YOU LEAVE BECAUSE OF MY ATTIC WIFE
IS THAT WHAT THIS IS ABOUT?"
"BECAUSE MY HOUSE IN FRANCE DOESNT EVEN HAVE AN ATTIC
IF THATS WHAT YOU WERE WORRIED ABOUT"
You also have Scarlett O'Hara texting to Ashley Wilkes: "where r u? guess what kind of corset im wearing"
You also get Lord Byron texting a friend: "uuuuuuuggggghhh my life."
Or Cathy, texting Heathcliff: "I love you SO MUCH i'm going to write your name all over my books and then i'm going to have someone else's baby and then DIE"
Or Hamlet: "he's not my real dad why do you even like him"
Or Eponine to Marius, from Les Miserables: "marius where are you i am at the barricade with your note" (His reply: "sorry new phone who is this")
OK, it's probably a copyright violation that I'm quoting so much of this book but it's brilliant and funny and I want you to know how brilliant and funny it is. Just know that it's awesome, and it seems right up your alley…so many of you beautiful book geeks whom I love so much, OMG.
Go get it.