where flattery will get you

Flattery will get you everywhere, or at least it’ll get you up on someone’s blog. I don’t normally post emails or compliments received because it feels just a wee bit self-indulgent (’cause it is). But I reminded myself today that this is, in fact, my blog, and the whole reason I began this Greek Tragedy blog was because I wanted a record, an online journal that documented my life, or at least what I wanted to show for it. So for the record, and your future nostalgic self-indulgent self, this email was just what you needed to hear today. It’s another reminder that you should (we all should!) go through life as if you already have a team of people rooting for you, waiting desperately for your next creation.

Dear Stephanie,

I don’t even know where to begin! First off, with my name, I suppose? I’m Lee Lee Elfassy. I graduated Wheatley in 2004. Faith Toperoff is one of the top three most influential people in my life, and I am one of your biggest fans.

I first started reading your blog a few years back, not even knowing we graduated from the same school. My mother, who is quite a few DECADES older than you, was going through a terrible divorce, searching for love through online dating profiles, and letting our 7lb Yorkshire terrier named Mikey lick away her tears. Then one day I head her laughing in the office from upstairs in my bedroom. She was reading your blog, and laughing maniacally. I came in to find out what was so funny, and immediately joined in, sharing the tiny office chair between us.

I have been reading your blog ever since, and I have finally (yes, my life got in the way so it took a while) read Straight Up & Dirty. It took me all of 5 hours to read. I couldn’t put it down. I never read someone’s writing that felt so close to my own. It was raw, and vulnerable, and pushed the envelope. Your writing made me feel a silent understanding, and a calm that my life would get on track, eventually. I’m only 25 years old, not too far from where SU&D takes place in your life. It gives me strength to not be afraid of the voice I was given. I was so worried that I would be TOO loud, or TOO needy, or TOO sarcastic through my writing. But all of that changed after reading your book.

For a year I have been working on maison arsenal, an online magazine launching in May. The idea behind it being a lifestyle magazine arming you with style, beauty, and a little something for the soul. I couldn’t understand why it was taking me so long to accomplish. It felt like I was waiting forever and a day for things to take off. After reading your book, I realized “maybe this has nothing to do with the magazine and has everything to do with me. Maybe I am looking for success, and comfort, and love in all the wrong places. It must begin somewhere closer to home. It must begin HERE.” (and I swear like a woman in a gospel choir I held my hand to my heart when those words came to me.)

I am writing you this letter to say “Thank you.” Thank you for being unafraid(or for moving past your fears) and thank you for being an inspiration to me, and many others. Thank you for getting my mother off the couch, off internet dating, and into a positive head space. Thank you for being awesome.

I am purchasing Moose online as I write this letter to you. (I too grew up a fat girl and worried my weight would forever weigh me down..pun intended. :)

Again, thank you for your courage. It made it all worth it for me.

Lee Lee Elfassy, a fan <3

Returning to High School


  1. I’d go back to the DRAFT of this and remove that unnecessary apology– you need no rationale for publishing such a great email, full of the kind of compliments that make our day, our week and sometimes our year, and that keep us writing in the face of life, which always seems to get in the way, even when we’re writing about it.

    Isn’t it a wonderful feeling to have inspired a young woman? To help them get an epiphany that moves them forward? To help them see things they might have taken much longer to “get?”

    I hope you take this email, frame it and caption it “WHY I WRITE.”

  2. Dear Stephanie:

    Today’s post inspired me to write-I wrote many years ago before you became so famous ( I think about the of time of your first book-which I promptly bought and read). I read about you in the Times and became intrigued with you, like a groupie-I followed Greek Tragedy-almost addicted to it-then began my own blog: Move Over Stephanie Klein. At that time I didn’t understand how your generation (because it seemed alot of you were out there doing it) could feel so free publicly sharing every thing and anything-sacred or not. It would irritate me that this blabbing on about your vomit, sex life, or self-deprecation could be of interest. I guess there’s something to be said for collective suffering. Life happens and so do hangovers, heartbereaks and bad sex and I know every generation thinks theirs are the worst.

    I doubt you remember the email I sent you after the birth of the twins. I told you motherhood would temper you; give you new perspectives-through the eyes of children and out of the mouths of babes so to speak-that Phil seemed to be the man you needed and that I looked forward to witnessing your maturing work. I read the post-partum blogs for awhile and then my life took turns and I had to move on.

    Returning recently I’m trying to catch up-shocked you’re back in NY (how’s Phil?) and enjoying a more mature Stephanie. Your posts are more “global” in nature and you write with more humility and awareness. You still have that “all about me” but then it is all about you- but you seem kinder about yourself and what’s in your world. I realize we all experience the same thing-our perspective is our reality and it provides us with the material we share. I am way older than you-but I can relate to the events-may not share vomit but I understand the journey.

    So I started a new blog: difficult to find because I’m not techno-savvy-but it is about my life as a busting boomer ( google)www.boomersvilletauber-I think it’s coming along. Will I be discovered..I don’t know.I’m working on a sexy novella-writing keeps my ADD at bay-

    I guess it doesn’t matter the age-life is life-what matters is the quality of faith, family and friends and the opportunity to live it the best way possible. Sharing is good-and you’ve made life-laughable.

    The best to you during Passover..I hope your family is well…

    Kathy Tauber

  3. Just stumbled upon your blog. My mother always told me “tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are”. By reading the comments and this beautiful heartfelt letter from Lee Lee Alfassy, I have to say you I can’t wait to read your book. I also was a chunky monkey growing up and have the stretch marks to prove it. Still love the Suzy Q cakes to this day I just don’t eat them. It’s a love from a far.

    Best wishes,


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