Saturday, May 5, 2012

A Very Inspiring Thing the Late Adam Yauch did for me

When I was a sophomore in college, I wrote and self-published a novel, one copy at a time. I printed all my rejection letters from publishers on the back cover. I used a hot-glue gun to bind each copy by hand on the floor of my crappy apartment. It should be apparent that I had no idea what I was doing. I sat in my living room with my burned fingers and a small stack of my books and thought, “Now what?”

I mailed a copy to Adam Yauch – MCA of the Beastie Boys – because I loved the Beastie Boys. At that time in my life, I probably thought about them as much as I thought about anything. I’d listened to Licensed to Ill while hanging off the monkey bars with my friends on our very last day of elementary school. I’d been waiting in line at the Sound Shop at Somerset Mall three years later when Paul’s Boutique was released, and I was waiting in the same spot three years after that for Check Your Head.

To me the Beastie Boys might as well have invented music and what it meant to have fun with it. I went vegetarian after hearing Adam Yauch talk about it. I named my cat MCA.

I didn’t expect any response when I sent Adam Yauch my book, but a few weeks later a postcard arrived at my Mom’s house, which was the address I’d printed on my copyright page. “It’s a little drawing of a guy holding your book,” Mom told me over the phone. “The signature looks like it says ‘Yuck.’”


Yes, at a time when I had no idea how to get my writing to people and I felt like no one would ever read my stuff, Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys took a moment to draw a little cartoon of himself reading my book and smiling. That simple nod of recognition is still one of my favorite things writing has brought me. It could not have come at a better time or from someone whose acknowledgment would have meant more to me.

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