A message almost 2 years in the making

August 05 2014

Written 10/12/2012:

Everything you’re reading now was written before I was selected to share a message with the Listserve community. Like many of you, as soon as I signed up, I began wondering what I would say if given the chance. Some weeks later, I began to wonder how that message might be different if I were writing it on the assumption that it would never be read versus writing with certainty that it would. So I sat down to write a message, this message, even before I was asked to, which also means that you can think of this as the only email written from the perspective of a non-winner of the Listserve lottery.

Part One – Just Gonna Say It…

I’m a generally happy, positive person, but I’m also a proud skeptic, a natural contrarian, a sometimes pessimist, and an occasional grump. I tell you this because I don’t want what follows to be read as insulting or critical of the Listserve project or any of the contributors – I look forward to the emails every day, even and especially those furthest from my ideological, philosophical or religious standpoint. All that being so, I’m just gonna say it: The deluge of positive messages is becoming one bright, shiny, happy blur, with no real weight or influence on my life in general or my days individually. I have grown numb to the wise and elegant words. I care little about the thoughtful, personal epiphanies, and I wonder if others have had the same experience. It strikes me as an interesting phenomenon, perhaps demonstrating the notion that you can have too much of a good thing. It’s also worth mentioning that I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be writing this if I knew I’d been selected; that is, I imagine I’d get bright and shiny and happy real quick if I knew this were being sent to 20,000+ people.

Part Two – Shameless Self-Promotion

[Part Two deleted, explanation below]

Part Three – ?

I’m reserving part three in case I’m actually picked, meaning anything that follows was written after I was selected:

Written 07/29/2014:

$#@%, I was actually selected?!

Reflections on Part One –

First thought… I wish I hadn’t made this deal with myself. My message suddenly feels so negative and petty, like I was belittling something just because I couldn’t have it, and my impulse now is to get “bright and shiny and happy.” At the same time, I can’t say what I wrote has proven untrue, just that my relationship to Listserve has evolved. First was the honeymoon phase, when every message was amazing. Then I began taking it for granted (around the time I wrote part one), but finally I settled into something like a long-term relationship. The value of the messages in my day-to-day life is not quite what it was, and sometimes I hardly notice them for weeks, but it’s still appreciated, comforting. And, every once in a while, out of nowhere, I am amazed.

Reflections on (the now deleted) Part Two –

Here’s where I was going to disregard the rule against self-promotion and plug my novel-in-progress. Turns out rules are easier to break in theory. Now I can’t bring myself to do it because it feels like an insult to both the spirit and the readers of the Listserve. (What I will do is invite you to write me if you’d like to read a sample and offer feedback/book deals.)

Finally, because I haven’t hit exactly 600 words, some recommendations:

Amy Hempel
Adelle Waldman
Sherwood Anderson
Lynne Tillman

The Station Agent
The Host


[email protected]
New York, NY

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