9-25-08 - A message about
Thank You and OK!
I don't usually print emails and letters I get about my
books but I do get them and thought I'd share this one. Thanks Nicolas. - DC
Subject: Thank You and OK!
First off, I apologize for the subject header, as I realize you must get it
often. However, the e-mail is topical, so I wont get too worked up about it.
My name is Nicolas Laine, and I am an 18-year-old living in Seattle. I first
read 'Thank You and OK!' in my freshman year, as it was in my high school
library, where I spent most of my time. I loved it. I read it again. Then
again. And so on. I was forced to part with this long overdue book in 2006,
as part of the school allowing me to drop out involved returning all my
For the past two years, I have been sort of passively searching for your
book, checking the 'Buddhism' section of every bookstore I go to. (I
personally find it strange that in the two times I have found your book, it
has been in the religion section. I didn't find the book particularly
'about' Buddhism, so much as about interpersonal relationships and
interactions. But I digress.) So you can imagine my excitement when I came
upon a brand-new copy of 'Thank You and OK!' in my local Half-Price Books. I
took it home, and spent the rest of that day and the better part of the next
It is much better now than it was before.
I am very young, and two years isn't very long, but in that time I have had
to grow up a little. I was homeless for a while, I had to go live with
strange relatives, and so on and so forth. Basically, all the things they
write in those awful Scholastic teen dramas nobody reads. Anyway, even
though I loved your book and got a lot out of it at 15, I was blown away by
it now. At some points I laughed, honest-to-god laughed out loud, in front
of people, which is not normally a reaction the a book can provoke in me.
The last section of the book made me cry, mainly because I don't think I
have read a description of loss that...well, accurate. Mainly, you have
achieved an enviable goal: you have written about experiences that resonate
with people that don't even remotely have to do with what you are writing
about. I don't know anything about monastic life, I have never been to
Japan, and the closest thing to knowing anything about Zen is that I once
read 'Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind', and still have a copy somewhere. Perhaps I
am totally missing the point, but now I feel (if on a visceral, not
intellectual, level) that I have a deeper understanding of these things
through someone I can see myself in.
You have written my favorite book. I mean, I've read a lot of books, and
yours is at the top of the heap. I like Kafka, Bulgakov is awesome, but your
book makes me feel. I just want to thank you.
P.S. Re-reading this, I see that my sentance structure makes this e-mail a
chore to read. Sorry!