Okay, so yesterday scared the crap out of me.
The phone calls and emails from reporters and literary agents and movie producers and the thousands of comments from John Hughes fans that I wanted to acknowledge and respond to? More than I was prepared to handle — literally and emotionally. Individually, you guys are great. Collectively, I wanted to crawl under my desk and curl up in the fetal position.
I'm shy. No, really. Sure, I mouth off on Twitter and I can pull off a client meeting, but I get anxious when I'm the center of attention. I'm a private person. I'm an honest and forthright person, but I have always been very cautious about what I share — and with whom.
Beyond that, my correspondence with John has always been an important part of my life, a chapter that informs who I am today. Putting it out there to be analyzed and critiqued risked the possibility that some of the beauty that I saw in it would fade. I've always pushed my clients to be willing to listen to criticism and, for example, allow negative comments to be posted on their Web sites, but right now, I want to delete the comments from the (very very few) who chose to sully something lovely and innocent with their ugliness. As I said yesterday on Twitter — in one of my less eloquent moments — "People who say mean things suck. Kindness feels better — to you and to me."
And the condolences. I don't feel like I deserve those. John's wife, his sons, his grandchildren. They deserve your condolences. Think of them and, if you're so inclined, pray for them as they get through this difficult time.
Mostly though, I was scared I was betraying John. Would he want me to tell these stories? Was it wrong to talk about his phone call? He was raw. Was he trusting me with something and did I not show that trust the respect it deserved? Would his family or friends think I was betraying his trust to get the attention I never wanted in the first place? I do not want to be known as the woman who revealed why John Hughes left Hollywood. John Hughes wasn't Deep Throat and I'm not Carl Bernstein — or Bob Woodward.
What was amazing about this experience — besides all of your kind comments — was hearing from John's sons. As I told both of them, it is very obvious to me that the generosity their father showed me was something they have both inherited. Thank you, John. Thank you, James.
So, a few things.
I'm not doing any more interviews. Okay, maybe one more. Rachel Sklar got in touch last night and I like Rachel. I'll talk to her and maybe we can do something fun together.
The blog post will be reprinted in full in tomorrow's New York Post. I received a very small fee for allowing them to do so and I am going to give that money (plus some extra) to 826 National, an organization that works with young people (ages 6-18) and teachers to encourage writing. Because of John's encouragement of my writing and the encouragement that many of you have given me to write, it seems fitting. I'd like to ask each of you to do the same or to consider volunteering. 826 National has locations in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle, Ann Arbor and Boston.
I checked with the Hughes family and they support this idea and encourage you to also consider giving to the American Heart Association or Northwestern Memorial Hospital in John's memory. $10, $20, anything you have would have an impact (remember, it's the little things.) If things are tight and you don't have any extra money and you are in the Chicago area, please consider volunteering for the Northwestern Memorial Hospital. I am confident they would welcome your support and it would be a lovely way to demonstrate your admiration for John.
To all of you who have written to me on Facebook and Twitter to thank me for the post, I am sincerely appreciative for your graciousness. And for those who have encouraged me to keep writing, thank you. It is the thing I like to do most in this world and I guess I just got a major kick in the pants to keep at it.
My apologies to those of you who have asked to be my "friend" on Facebook, but that space is for people I already know. Please don't be offended. Most of the content I post on there wouldn't make any sense to you anyway. It barely makes sense to the people who know me. You can obviously follow me on Twitter, which many of you already have chosen to do. But just know that I'm not always "beautiful" and "touching." Yeah, I mean, I am hardly ever "beautiful" and "touching." I'm kinda grumpy.
The moral of this story? Speak up, believe that there are people out there who will listen. And if you have the opportunity to be the "listener"? Listen. You have the power to change someone's life. Oh, and another thing. Do what makes you happy, according to your rules. Stay true to your values. I'm going to try to remember these lessons myself.
My friend Spike said it would be over today. Doesn't one of you want to make a wacky video about your cat? I hear those are really popular.
Saturday, August 08, 2009
Okay, so yesterday scared the crap out of me.