Tag: stroke

Tote Bags

I found a stash of tote bags for TELL ME EVERYTHING YOU DON’T REMEMBER. I thought I’d given all of them away by now!

What to do, what to do?
GIVE. THEM. AWAY!!!!

So.

  1. Tweet or Facebook or instagram or email me a picture of yourself with your copy of TELL ME EVERYTHING YOU DON’T REMEMBER, You can tag me (@xtinehlee on twitter and @xtinehlee1 on instagram)
  2. Then email me your mailing address to: xtinehlee AT gmail DOT com (so that I can get the tote bag to you).
  3. The first 30 people to do the above will receive a free tote bag.*

Thank you for reading. I’m blown away by your response, and love hearing from readers. And the best thing about all this are all the new connections in my life**–so I’m looking forward to building more.

*I haven’t counted, but I’m pretty sure I have more than 30 bags, so I may be able to go over this number.
**Also, I love seeing pictures of readers + TELL ME EVERYTHING YOU DON’T REMEMBER out in the world. ūüėČ

Book Gestation

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It takes a number of steps and people and coordination to bring a memoir into the world. (It also takes work).

The essay that sparked this whole process. Editors and agents. A book proposal to write. A book deal. Then, write write write write wriiiite.

After twelve months of writing…GOOOOOOAAAALL: ¬†a completed and accepted final draft of TELL ME EVERYTHING YOU DON’T REMEMBER.¬†I’ve never written at such a quick pace.

My novel, on the other hand, took twelve YEARS to write and I’m still not¬†done rewriting it. And it’s due soon, to my editors!¬†

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So we’re now in the copyedits stage. Many eyes have scanned the pages. An intrepid and sharp-eyed copyeditor combed through my manuscript for necessary changes over the past month, and now it is in my hands again. My penchant for unnecessary commas is clear to me as I accept changes proofread the proofreader. (Shazam! I caught a couple of things he/she missed!). A legal team has read the manuscript to ensure all things are square on the litigious front.

Blurbs have been courted. Bound manuscript copies have been sent out for said blurbs.

I have cover art–it’s beautiful. I can’t wait to show it to you.

The advance reader copies (ARCs) will be out within a couple of months and the publishing sales team readied.

My editors asked that I make a short video for the sales team–I could have shot something simple with my iPhone (what’s the selfie version of an iPhone video?), but I’d already been pondering a book trailer for a few weeks . A good book trailer can be amazing, a bad one, ineffective (and a major expense).

The fact that a book trailer could achieve two needs at once got me off the fence.

So this week, we shot my book trailer.

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I get to have Oprah Lighting! Well. Sort of; I get to be lit up! I had to powder my face and everything.

The entire living room got lighting. Including my bookshelves, the backdrop to some of the book trailer.

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It’s hard to talk about my book and not make it sound cheezy. I’m astounded that people even want to hear about my story about having been sick and then getting better. But along the way, I learned lessons about wellness and resilience, and it was gratifying to write them down.

And I can’t wait until my book is out in the world–the official publication date is February 14, 2017.

 

Viral

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Wow. Wow. Wow.

I have been sitting in my house for the past day (I seriously never left the house yesterday), stunned at the reception to my BuzzFeed Longform essay about my stroke and recovery, “I Had a Stroke at 33.” I have received thousands of encouraging and kind tweets, dozens of amazing emails, and so so so much support for that piece.

I am seriously floored, and in a giddy, dazed shock. I did not expect this many people to read my piece, nor did I expect it to illicit OMG there is that weird homophone aphasia thing again elicit so many connections. But I’m glad it has–I’m glad it has provided insight into traumatic brain injuries and stroke, that it has provided comfort to some and enlightenment to others.

When I was going through stroke recovery, I felt incredibly alone. Each stroke is unique, so that just furthers the isolation. And while recovering, I basically sat shiva for the person I lost, unready to face the person I’d become. So if this piece eases that solitary for others, I’m so happy.

In 36 hours, my essay was viewed 300,000 times. Three Hundred Thousand.

And this morning, it’s the “most dugg” post on Digg.

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(#4 is the horrific story about a man who has 100 hellish orgasms a day).

I’m trying to reply to each email and FB message. I’m sorry I can’t reply to all the tweets, but I see them, and am so psyched that people feel so passionate about the piece they are compelled to share it with others.

It took a long time to condense my stroke into an essay. Writing nonfiction for me is like cutting my wrists and letting them bleed into words. (Fiction isn’t any easier; that’s like INVENTING a pair of wrists and then cutting them until they bleed, too). I seriously thought my stroke was The Most Boring Story I could tell; who wants to hear about a sick person? And I wanted to write a narrative that provided layers of meaning to my experience. But this summer, I was ready. And apparently, you were ready for my story, too.

Thank you thank you thank you. Deep gratitude.

Thank you to my editor at BuzzFeed, Sandra Allen who lifted every stone and sharpened my story. Thank you to Lisa Perrin, whose illustrations captured the spirit of my essay. Writers don’t get to choose the artwork (and rarely the titles), and I so lucked out this time. Check out Lisa Perrin’s store on etsy.

Stroke Essay

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On December 31, 2006 I had a stroke. I’ve written about it in passing on Nova Ren Suma’s blog as a Turning Point, on my old blog about yoga as it pertained to my recovery, and on my (formerly) anonymous blog in real time as it happened, and as I healed.

But I found it very difficult to write about the stroke as the focal point in essay format. Sometimes, it takes time for me to understand a life happening before I can retell it to others.

Today, my essay is out on BuzzFeed Longform. I’m proud of the thing. I’m grateful to my editor at BuzzFeed for guiding me towards the razor’s edge in my narrative. And I’m in LOVE with Lisa Perrin’s artwork. I’ve always admired her work, but I’m thrilled with how much she nailed my story in pictures. The above image is one of several she created for my stroke essay.

Also, I’m grateful to all my friends who held my hand in recovery. I don’t recall every moment–friends have told me they visited me, and it’s in the black hole of memory. But I felt my friends’ presence and caring. Who held my hand last year, which was honestly one of the hardest years of my life. Who still hold my hands. And in particular, to the friends and my sweetheart who read early¬†drafts of the essay.

We writers don’t receive kudos very often. So when the love does come around, it matters very much. It holds me through the darkness. And it keeps me going. So–thank you.

Note: I did chronicle my stroke over at Jade Park. And I blogged in real time as the stroke hit me, and as I realized something was terribly wrong. Whoever says blogging is a waste of time can see how that blog saved my life and writing.

Thank you.