I do not intend to post letters of everyone who once wrote me. The only object of the letters in this document is to show my struggle to be alive and strong to narrate that I didn’t follow the steps of prostitution or become a thief, but wanted to study to say: beaten, the fleas were not enough to make me weak and now I stand alive on top of earth, begging of you a chance to explain the crude truth of bare life is not what makes us nuts, but the old ideas of man.
How can one be published if not by the skill of a letter? Maybe through a friend’s recommendation, but I have no friends in the literary world, so my option is to write and win a voice.
When I was about to finish my yet unpublished manuscript, Garments of Fleas, my husband, Daryl Edelman, told me to write a letter to Dave Eggers because he was coming to Donnell Library in Manhattan in a few days to talk about his book, What is the What. So I wrote him the following letter:
New York, April 26th, 2007
Dear Dave Eggers:
You are a master teacher to me, an idol.
Forgive me if it is not the proper time to deliver this letter to you, but I can’t miss this opportunity since I came to appreciate your brilliance in flesh. We all have to begin from a certain point, and my hope is that I can begin with the best.
I’m a native of Brazil who grew up carrying water to survive, but my head is strong, so I flew to America at the age of forty, uneducated, schooled only until 14. I couldn’t speak English, but I had an unconscious ambition to be a novelist to push mankind’s evolution ahead into the infinite. I learned English as a second language in free classes in New York while I worked and lived in a garment broker’s office, importing clothing from Brazil to America.
Destiny brought me a loving husband, a comic book writer and editor who presented me with books instead of a brilliant ring. I learned how to be a writer from the books, picking geniuses’ brains such as yours, Scott Fitzgerald’s, Galileo Galilei’s, and so many more that I can’t list them all here. Whoever created school had no school to go to, so I educated myself.
Directed by my husband, a master editor and my mentor, I have been writing a novel for the past two and a half years, and I wrote a masterpiece! It’s based on the true story of a hopeless girl (me) in poverty, daughter of black slave ancestors, imprisoned in a psychological karma Christian civilization put me in on earth there in Brazil, but as I said, my head is strong, so I escaped, and here I am in firm thoughts that you’ll request to read my creation and help me publish it.
I thank you very much for your attention.
After his speech, Daryl delivered my letter. Dave Eggers folded it and put it in his pocket! I wondered, will he pay attention to my voice?
At the time, my husband and I had to move in exasperation from a building run by Related Rentals because I might suggest we felt we were being attacked by the staff of the building (The Related story will be narrated for your appreciation and judgment later, dear reader, for you to judge if I had reason or not to believe my family was under attack by family men with children).
The days went on; we left the Related trauma slowly behind, and my full happiness shone back when my e-mail inbox delivered the message:
----- Original Message -----
From: "Dave Eggers"
To: Regina Edelman
Sent: Thursday, May 31, 2007 3:50 PM
Subject: Great letter
I just found your letter in my backpack. I have no idea when you gave it to me, but you wrote a very good and intriguing letter. By all means send me your masterpiece. And though I can promise nothing (I'm so swamped I can barely breathe), I will try to read it and send what thoughts and advice I can.
849 Valencia Street
San Francisco CA 94110
From: "Regina Edelman"
To: "Dave Eggers"
Sent: Friday, June 01, 2007 3:15 PM
Subject: Re: Great letter
I just cannot believe you wrote me back! It is one of the most happy moments of my life! Thank you for your return!
You caught me in the middle of moving from one place to another. I tell you, I can't breathe either! I still have some polishing of my novel to do, but will be done with the work by the end of the month. I will send it to you with great pleasure!
Thank you so much!
my new address and phone:
To be continued…