Happy Thursday, everyone!
Today's post means a lot to me. I was asked to write a letter to celebrate the paperback release of Love Letters to the Dead, and wrote to Amy Winehouse.
I saw her in London a few weeks before she passed away, and have wondered since then if I should have said something on that day. Ava wrote a great response to my letter, and I hope you like our responses.
Read on for our letters, and a way to get your copy of the book.
Thank you for joining us for the Love Letters to the Dead paperback tour!
In honor of the paperback release, bloggers are writing a love letter to the dead, and Ava's writing a response.
My letter is to Amy Winehouse, and has been on my mind, since I last saw Amy in London. Click here to read my review for Ava's beautiful book.
It’s been four years, since my friends and I saw you in North London. You were eating quietly, with your bodyguard in tow.
While we giggled behind our milkshakes and tried not to look in your direction, we chose not to disturb you that day, because we didn’t want to be those people - the type who randomly approach celebrities, when said celebrities are clearly trying to have some alone time. So we quietly admired you from afar, as I hastily whispered some of your biography and most famous song titles to my friends.
We all knew that you had been struggling with both career and relationship problems, and we were happy to see that you looked well that day, if somewhat too thin. We had no idea that in only one month’s time, we would be boarding a London bus on an overcast Saturday afternoon, only to hear people frantically whispering rumors that you had passed away. We had no idea that we, and the rest of the world, would lose you so soon.
Four years on, your name continues to dominate headlines because of the release of the new documentary, Amy.
Every time I now read about someone lamenting over the tragedy of your death, or analyze just how very little your fans knew you, there’s a part of me that wishes that I had chosen to say “hello” that day. I would have loved to tell you that your music had made a difference in my life; or more importantly, that I appreciated your ability to capture those feelings of optimism and regret. You spoke for so many, who didn’t know how to put what they were feeling into words.
Ultimately, I don’t know whether my words would have helped you realize that you were very much loved, by so many around the world. I don’t know if it would have made a difference in the end. And while I can’t wind back the clock, I can take this as a reminder that life does count, and every minute stands for something.
So while you may be gone, Amy, your legacy still lives on. I know that our brief interaction has reminded me to live life differently, and I know that there are many out there like me, who have continued to be shaped by your life.
Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful, and personal letter. I was stricken by your words. Just as Amy’s music continues to live on, to touch lives, so do our memories of her: the first day we heard a favorite song, the person we shared a love of her music with, a moment infused with her voice. And, for you, the day you saw her eating, quietly, in North London, with your friends. Even after her death, our personal connections to Amy and her music can continue to create connections between us. Because now, through your letter to Amy, I know something about you.
Sometimes, it can be easy to forget how human our stars, our celebrities, our idols are. You witnessed, beautifully, Amy’s humanity: both in person, and in your love for her music. (And in choosing to honor her privacy, I believe you also honored that.) As you said so perfectly to her: “You spoke for so many, who didn’t know how to put what they were feeling into words.” That’s the thing, isn’t it? That’s what we so deeply value in our beloved musicians and artists: that ability to name something that we ourselves do not have the words for, to awaken parts of us that have not yet found a voice. Thank you for so generously sharing with Amy, and with all of us, the way in which her life touched yours. In so doing, you’ve brought her to life again with your words, and allowed us each to form a new connection to her, through you.
Bonus point: tell us who you would write to in the comments.
Check out the rest of the tour!
September 22nd: Rebel Mommy Book Blog
September 23rd: Fangirl Feels
September 24th: The Reading Nook Reviews
September 25th: Alexa Loves Books
September 28th: YA Bibliophile
September 29th: Into the Hall of Books
Check out Love Letters to the Dead, which is available in paperback and hardcover now!
Amazon | Indiebound | Book Depository | Goodreads | Barnes & Noble
About the author:
Ava Dellaira is the author of the YA novel, LOVE LETTERS TO THE DEAD, which was published in 2014 to much acclaim and is now out in paperback. It was one of Buzzfeed’s Best YA Books of 2014 and one of Bustle’s 10 Best Debut Young Adult Novels, and has been optioned for film by Fox 2000 and the producers of The Fault in Our Stars. Dellaira is writing the script, which is slated to be directed by Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight). Ava wrote much of the novel while working as an associate producer on The Perks of Being A Wallflower movie. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was a Truman Capote Fellow. Ava grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and received her undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago. She currently lives in Los Angeles, where she’s at work on her second book, whose publication was just announced for 2018.