In this bitter process of rejections and humiliation, Joel Rose, a writer friend Daryl knows from working at DC Comics together, read my manuscript and said that he loved to be in my world, that he learned about Brazilian history and culture, that he laughed and cried, and that my story was magical. Joel said that the structure of the novel is correct, and that the corrections are minor. I asked what corrections were needed, but he only said that maybe maybe five pages needed to be cut, adding that my manuscript was a beautiful work of art and expanded the language. He was astonished with my achievement. I beleived Joel. He is a real discoverer of new talent. He discovered J.T. Leroy. I know it turned out J.T. is Laura Albert, but she is above all a genius anyway. Joel also discovered Anthony Bourdain. Joel said I should be proud of my work.
I'm proud, but I didn't write my story to keep my work in a drawer.
To have this opinion from the first person who read my book was the most important thing in this world to me, and encouraged my endeavors with Dave, who answered my last email with silence, and of course, silence was no good for me.
Strangely, Daryl suggested a day after my dream the possibility of my manuscript being lost. I deeply pondered his suggestion. Positive as I am, I would have rather believed the dream meant that Dave was looking for my work to read than that the manuscript was lost.
“Dave never had any intention to read your work, Regina,” Daryl said to poison my liver with this ugly possible truth.
“Fine, maybe he lost my manuscript and is too embarrassed to say he did,” so, I excused Dave because why would he play such a senseless cruelty on anyone?
If I just could show Dave a bit more concrete material about myself. I e-mailed him again. A lesson I had figured out alone in life is not to expect any good if I don’t change. So then I changed the subject of the e-mail from “Great Letter” to "Enid News & Eagle, Enid, OK 7.12.1998." I wrote:
----- Original Message -----
From: "Regina Edelman"
To: "Dave Eggers"
Sent: Friday, April 17, 2008 4:46 PM
Subject: Enid News & Eagle, Enid, OK 7.12.1998
You never told me if indeed you cast me away. I wonder why you would anyway, and as long as your silence remains, I can't exactly understand your doors are closed for me, and that you aren't friendly to me. I wish spring brings good hope to your well-being as it brings to mine, and so, I'm checking with you if you yet had a chance to get close to my work. April 27th will be one year since I gave you my letter that you called great letter when you answered it a month later. That was one of the happiest moments of my life. One of your genius lessons to me is that we must pursue with faith what we want, so here I am with revigorated wishes that you will read my work and help me to publish it.
At this time, I didn't attach an excerpt from my Garments of Fleas, but a July 12th, 1998 newspaper article from Enid, Oklahoma, around the time I arrived in the United States at forty-years-old, thirsting to learn, but had no clue I could learn so well. The article about me, Regina Santos (my single name), tells you a little about the beginning of my English achievement.
Note that if for any reason whatsoever you need me to send a copy of my manuscript again, please, please feel free to request it and I will send it to you with great enjoyment. Once again, thank you so much for your understanding and time.