I screamed when I got the email. I literally sat in bed, stared at the computer, and screamed.
That’s sort of funny, isn’t it? Only two months ago, I sat in the same bed with the same computer, talking to someone important to me; now I sat there shrieking like a lunatic because the essay I wrote about our failed relationship won the New York Times‘ Modern Love essay contest. The essay, “Even in Real Life, There Were Screens Between Us,” appeared on nytimes.com today and will run in print this Sunday.
I know some people will like my essay; I know others will hate it. Regardless of your opinion of my work, however, I think it testifies to the transformative power of storytelling – and that is a very powerful idea.
I remember my friend Tuan once telling me that he didn’t feel sad after a break-up because the experience informed his work. “I’m collecting characters for films,” he said.
I don’t know where it will get me, exactly, but I would like to see my life, and this experience, in that same framework.
(Update 5/1/11: I am profoundly humbled and overwhelmed by the positive response to this essay. Thank you to everyone who has written — I will eventually respond to all the messages. Please keep sharing your stories with me.)