Most writers second-guess the quality of their work, whether these doubts are frequent or limited to insomnia-causing late night angst sessions. Fewer writers guess that those on the bestseller list have these same fears. This week, a letter from a young Theodore Geisel—a.k.a. Dr. Seuss—is available at auction for $3,500. Like Geisel's books, the letter tells a fascinating yet unbelievable story: a vulnerable, personal account of an aspiring author who nearly burned his first children's manuscript.
Norman Aladjem, a Hollywood manager and producer, began writing Letters to Mackenzie as an ongoing series of advice he wanted to give to his daughter. As an ‘older dad’, as he describes himself, he wanted to be able to teach his daughter valuable lessons that he’s learned in his life.
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What once started out as a passion project, quickly turned into a small self-help phenomenon. Letters to MacKenzie was a series of letters of advice that Aladjem would post once a week to his Facebook as a way to keep himself accountable and to stick to the project. Aladjem was contacted by a book agent he had on Facebook, and the book was quickly picked up by Simon & Schuster. “I didn’t set out to become an author,” he said. “I set out to write letters to my daughter and then it seemed to have universal themes of female empowerment and lessons about life and the relationships between parents and their children.”
The MacKenzie in question is actually sixteen year-old actress MacKenzie Aladjem who has starred on shows like Hawaii Five-O and Nurse Jackie.
The blog brought him and his family closer together as it provided him a way to articulate feelings and thoughts that he may not have been able to share before. He used the letters to talk about things from allowances, to deaths in the family, or even the birds and the bees. Norm actually planned to bind the letters together and gift them to MacKenzie during her eighteenth birthday, but he joked, “Then somebody bought the book.”
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The novel, entitled From Me to You, was recently published by Post Hill Press.
Aladjem stated that this was one of the most fulfilling things he has done as a parent. “I’ve had people say, ‘I wish my Dad had done that for me’ or ‘I need to start doing this for my kids.’ It’s never too late to do this for those you love.”
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I love when celebrities get involved with outside projects other than movies and acting gigs. Something about two worlds coming together just makes me happy. Now, we’re getting performance art meets written word.
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The Oscar-nominated Sherlock Holmes actor Benedict Cumberbatch has been announced as one of the first celebs recruited to be part of New York’s debut showing of Letters Live. Originating in London as a live production, the show puts celebs together with beautiful letters from other well-known names. The words of Tom Hanks, Mohandas Gandhi, Davie Bowie, and more will be read by Cumberbatch at Manhattan’s Town Hall from May 18th to 19th.
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This isn’t Cumberbatch’s first time working with Letters Live, and he certainly isn’t the only one. Since it began in 2013, stars like Jake Gyllenhaal, Russell Brand, Mary J. Blige, and many, many more have graced the event. Check out Entertainment Weekly here to get tickets to this historical production!
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There are beautiful and touching sentiments expressed in the letters… It also shows the vital role, those on the home front had in providing prisoners of war with food and provisions parcels to keep them feed and clothed in the camps.. In this project, as well as putting them into chronological order, I also have tried to highlight how the letters were impacted by the war.
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As a conflict historian, this is a remarkable insight into wartime Britain… They transport us back in time to see what ordinary people had to deal with both at home and on the front line during the First World War… This student research project also helps to bring a new understanding to the documents, showcasing the letters as historical objects which tell their own special story of war censorship.