Today, while digging through the journal I kept as I traveled, I came across a letter that the massively talented sketch artist and writer Candace Rose Rardon wrote me about The Yellow Envelope. I met Candace when our paths crossed in India. We bonded over our insatiable wanderlust and desire to make sense of our lives through words.
Candace was the first person I showed The Yellow Envelope to. It wasn’t a book when she saw it, just a collection of stream-of-consciousness stories that I’d typed up in my rented Indian apartment, fearful I’d lose the sights, smells and lessons I was learning if I didn’t commit them to paper. I remember how terrified I was to show Candace that first messy chapter and, later, how relieved I felt when she told me she loved it and nudged me forward with some spot-on advice. (Candace would have given me nothing but kindhearted feedback—still, her encouragement kept me going.)
Since that day I have had a hundred (thousand?) moments of self-doubt but each time I begin to succumb there is always someone that comes along and picks me up. Support often appears in the form of a hug, a blog comment, a funny tweet, or an email. No matter how the message arrives, it always reminds me that we are all holding on together, we’re all figuring it out as we go, and we owe it to each other to admit when we are living our lives on the brink of discomfort and fear—because our bravery makes others brave and their bravery, in turn, helps us.
Seeing Candace’s letter today transported me back to that coffee shop where I sat anxiously waiting to see what she would think of my story. Now, four years later, I hold my book in my hands and anxiously wait to see what you will think of it. The feelings are the same—but I have traveled a great distance between that letter and this book. I have learned that anxiety and fear are a part of this package. Their presence usually means that I am on to something.
The Yellow Envelope comes out in less than four weeks (it will be published 4/4/17). BookPage recently called it “An uplifting memoir of bravery and self-discovery” and Booklist, a publication of the American Library Association, called it “A capably narrated, decidedly introspective, soul-searching travel memoir.” My publisher has set a goal of 500 pre-orders for the book… and I’m not there yet (eek!). If the book sounds like something you’d enjoy, would you consider pre-ordering it? You can do so by calling your local bookstore and asking them to pre-order it for you (it’s also available for pre-order on Barnes and Noble and Amazon, but let’s support our local bookstores if possible). Once you’ve pre-ordered you can fill out this form and we will mail you a signed bookplate and a yellow luggage tag as a thank-you.
Thank you for your support through this journey. It’s hard to believe that the day is almost here!