The 18th of March 1993 – San Francisco, California

(found at the top of a big, shiny statue)

Dear Yedlin,

Please stop emulating my behavior so strictly.

Perhaps I am as exceptional as you give me credit. Perhaps there’s no need for me to start that sentence with the word “perhaps.”

But no matter how exceptional I am, I would advise you to please stop following my example because the life I’ve led is not nearly anywhere close to what it’s all cracked up to be.

There’s something magnificent about seeing the world, seeing one’s own and only life, as a story to be written, a flowing narrative into which various details can be plugged and all kinds of themes and connections can be made. It’s all the more magnificent when you cast yourself as the protagonist and make yourself the hero.

Where it all falls short, all this mythologizing of the mundane, is in how much pressure it creates.

Nothing is simple, Yedlin. Nothing is ever simple.

Everyone I meet can be characterized by their position on the continuum between good and evil. I’ve got arch-enemies and henchman harassing me. I’ve got loads and loads of allies, all of them of various degrees of deceitfulness and treachery of course.

And the important people, poor souls, they get cast in roles they aren’t even prepared for. The Love Interest, The Best Friend, The Source of Wisdom And Advice, The One Who Set My World Ablaze. Every day and every minute is part of some kind of plot – main, B or C – the exposition, the conflict, the rising action and the denouement. They’re all there as long as you look for them, and you can trust me that I look for them.

I’ve started to squeeze for them, Yedlin. I, with my exceptional life and accomplishment and mystery, squeeze and squeeze until blood drips from my stone, until the stone finally crumbles into dust.

And of course, there’s the possibility that things might all go wrong. Unlike in the movies, the heroes of life don’t always get the girl or win the million or get the last laugh. Sometimes the good guys – even some of the best guys – can fall flat on their faces. At that point, if it ever comes, well Yedlin, there just isn’t much to do.

You don’t know what it’s like, Yedlin. I’m not sure that you will ever want to.

But at least nothing’s boring. That’s the guarantee. Nothing’ll ever be boring.

Good luck in school,

Auntie Lynn


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