As I have mentioned once or twice, I absolutely loved Beth Hoffman's novel, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt. The women Beth wrote about came alive for me, and I still think about them and hope that CeeCee is feeling safe and strong.
I am honored to have a very special treat for you today: Oletta Jones's debut into the world of journalism. Please give a warm welcome to a wonderfully wise woman, who is here to tell you how she became an author.
My name is Oletta Jones. Up until a few months ago not many folks knew who I was, and that was fine by me. Then some woman wrote a book and made me a main character; can you believe that? And now, well, I guess I’m kinda famous. But I don’t mind, not most days, anyway. I go to my job at Miz Tootie’s just like always, and I still keep an eye on CeeCee as if she was my own. Lord knows that child needs some guidance. She’s doin’ real good, but with all she’s been through in her young life, I can’t help but worry.
Lately all sorts of letters been comin’ to my mailbox. People think I’ve got answers to their problems. A lot of those folks think I’m wise. Makes me feel good, especially since I didn’t finish school. Somehow the newspaper people got wind of all those letters and they asked me to write a column—said they’d call it “What Would Oletta Say?”
They want me to pick one letter each week and give my answer so they can put it in the newspaper. Well, CeeCee and I looked over all the letters and had ourselves a gay ol’ time readin’ the questions. It was hard to take some of ‘em serious, I’ll tell you that.
The first question we picked is from somebody named Luellen:
Oletta, No matter what I do in life or how much my net worth is, I never feel like I have enough. To make matters worse, I’m in a relationship, but he hurts my feelings all the time. I was thinking maybe I should see a therapist, but what do you think I should do?
Net Worth? I don’t know what that is, but CeeCee says it’s got something to do with your checkbook. And if you think your worth has anything to do with how much money you got, then you’re in trouble plenty! When I hear about so many folks goin’ to what they call “therapy”—well, I wonder what this world’s comin’ to. Now, I know some people need genuine help, and it’s real good they get it, but here’s the thing: too may people lookin’ to others for answers. Somewhere along the way a whole lot of folks up and forgot how powerful they are. Seems to me you’re of ’em.
Maybe you never feel like anything is enough ’cause you don’t like yourself, and if you don’t like yourself, then you’ll never feel like you’re enough and you’ll never be happy with your place in this world. Now, as for your boyfriend, I’m no expert on love, but here’s what I know—love ain’t supposed to hurt.
Think about that. My momma always used to say, “The Good Lord gave you a brain for a reason. Use it.”
All I know is this: happiness comes from the inside, a good days work should bring satisfaction, people get money all mixed up with happiness, and it sure ain’t love if it hurts.
Seems to me that sentence right there just about sums up anything I could ever say, so there’s no sense in me readin’ any more letters or doin’ this column.
Guess I just put myself out of a part-time job at the newspaper, but that’s okay—I got bread in the oven, friends to laugh with, a nice roof over my head, and I like myself just fine. I’m enough. And I hope one day you'll think you're enough too.
Now my biggest wish is that you have a pot of tea warming on the stovetop and some of that fresh bread ready to slice and eat with honey or your fresh strawberry preserves. I'll make room for everyone else at the table too.
This post was an Imprint Extra for the featured imprint Pamela Dorman Books. For more on Pamela Dorman Books, please see Pamela Dorman's guest post and the introduction to her imprint. For my review of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, click here. To meet Beth Hoffman, visit her website and blog, and follow her on Twitter.