Sunday, June 12, 2005

It was so nice to find this letter in my mailbox after a short hiatus:

hi leny,
we don't know each other yet, but i felt compelled to write you this
email. i'm on page four of your book, coming full circle, and i am
blown away. to be honest, i was blown away reading the back cover,
then really, really blown away reading the first two paragraphs of your
introduction. your book found me, for which i am most grateful. thank
you for writing it. thank you for sharing your experience. thank you
for providing others a way to share theirs. i know that i am not
alone, and for some reason, without even really knowing you, i am
certain that you know how valuable that feeling is.

perhaps i should back up now and introduce myself. my name is k.
v., and i am a filipina-american. i was born in the
philippines, and my parents and i immigrated to the united states in
1974; i was less than a year old. my parents spoke tagalog (and other
dialects) with each other, with other relatives, with friends, and when
conducting business with other filipinos. they never taught me how to
speak my native languages. of course, i understand why they did it;
but it's always been a source of secret shame for me, and i've always
wanted to learn.

after ten years, i am happy to report i'm learning tagalog now, and i
meet my tutor once a week in the main branch of the san francisco
public library. three weeks ago, he was running late (filipino time!),
so i went up to the 3rd floor filipino library. there was a bulletin
board with your email talking about your latest book, a book of her
own. i copied down the title, your name, and your contact info in the
margin of my study notes and promptly forgot all about wanting to
google you and your book later.

my friend stan, was performing in a two man show last week in a theater
near mission street and 5th. after my husband and i parked our car to
go to the theater, we passed arkipelago books. then, i remembered you
and your book and made a mental note to go to that bookstore to get it.
after my tagalog lesson this week, i asked my tutor if he wanted to
go with me to costco (samples and $1.50 hot dogs) then to arkipelago
books. we did, and i asked marie about your book. they didn't have it
in stock, but she showed me this one. of course, i bought it. and, of
course, you also know that i started it.

i look forward to finishing this book, reading your other work, and
meeting you. after wandering aimlessly for most of my life, wondering
about my identity and my direction, i have only just recently found my
way, my authentic path. i am embracing my voice inside of me. i am
learning to trust her. i speak aloud about the places that confuse and
scare me and thrill me and confound me. i am allowing my consciousness
to expand and guide me and my actions. your work is becoming a part my
journey and my process. thank you and welcome!

ps do you get emails like this often?
pps i sincerely hope so!

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