I am Elizabeth Dutton and I like the following things:
words, photographs, flowers, dogs, trees, rock music, oceans, moths, postcards, seas, fragrances, chicken salad, islands, costume jewelry, true crime stories, geodes, naps, baseball, inappropriate humor, postcards, tacos, Soviet design aesthetic, mascara, sailors, über nerds, cigar boxes, grand gestures, hammocks, quiet revenge, trinkets, maps, trivia, the blues, digital watches, water, skulls, transcendence, matchbooks, compassion, sunshine, rosaries, scarves, fog, bird nests, disregard for convention, sunglasses, and laughter.
It was lovely to meet you in Barcelona!
I recently had the divine pleasure of receiving your book (“1,033 Reasons to Smile”) as a birthday present from a dear friend. Since then, I carry it in my backpack everywhere I go and utilize it as subtle reminders of the consistent, never-ceasing beauty surrounding us always. I want to take a moment personally thank you for the wise words you’ve shared with millions. Furthermore, your heartfelt, warm, loving, and passionate demeanor and word use is a promotion of kindness in itself.
I am currently a senior at Oregon State University studying Psychology and New Media Communications, and I also write for our school newspapers Forum section (opinion). Earlier this year I wrote a column on the benefits of smiling, and why people should consciously make the effort to smile more overall. I have posted a link below if you have time to read it, although I imagine you are fairly busy.
Regardless, I would like to once again reiterate my thanks to you for sharing your thoughts and, most importantly, making me smile daily.
Barometer Article: http://www.dailybarometer.com/smile-more-1.3002523#.UZJV9I5FM_s
Thank you so very much for the kind words! I am so glad you enjoy the book — it’s quite a privilege for me to have my words accompany you through your day! Your article is fantastic and shows just what an intelligent and gifted person you are.
Best if luck to you in all your endeavors!
I just wanted to introduce myself and say thank you for your work on 1,033 Reasons to Smile! My name is Brandon Spillett and I have dove head first into an idea that had been brewing in my heart for sometime. I started an Non-Profit organization named Room2Smile that is based on basic companionship and giving others an opportunity to smile. As we grow and expand our reach to others, the new ideas and feedback has been great. One idea that has just started to take off is centered on your book. About a month ago I was browsing Barnes & Noble and stumbled across the book. As I picked it up and and saw the simplicity on the cover and all the great thoughts inside it sparked an idea. I cleaned out the entire shelf and went home and got to work. What I am doing is sending the book to special people in my life, complete strangers, and close friends. Each copy I have been writing a note for that individual. Once they are finished with the book, they will then pass it on to someone else that they feel could benefit from a simple smile. I have asked each person to take a picture passing the book on or doing something more creative if the books are being shipped. I’ll start uploading the pictures to my Facebook page Room2Smile as they travel the country, maybe even farther.
Thank you for giving me an opportunity to brighten some one else’s day, through your words and hard work!
What a fantastic idea and organization! It is really overwhelming to find out what a role I can play in creating some human connection and happiness. Thank you for your wonderful work!
I just finished Driftwood and it was as beautiful as it was timely to my life. My dad passed 12/15/14 after a long illness, during which we cared for him at home and I was blessed to be with him every day of that last year. After he passed, I fell into bed for a couple of weeks with my exhaustion and grief and a good dose of the flu brought by all of the many good people who felt the need to hug me at the funeral.
I drug myself out of bed one day for a trip to the library, carrying my flu and grief with me. I chose Driftwood off of the new books display after reading the back page and thinking it would be something fun and light and would provide a good distraction from my current thoughts, to which I was proven wrong, but glad to be. It laid on the bedside table for a couple of weeks. When I did pick it up, I read it straight through. I cried. I laughed. I was amazed at the similarities between myself and Clem, and of the love between Tommy and Angie, which is a love story much like my own parents, even the roses.
I’m not sure what’s next for me, but feel like I might be ready to find out. So I am thankful for this story and for the magic that brings books into your life at just the right moment.
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I am so sorry for your loss, and I am so honored that I could create something to act as a soul salve at just the right time. I am a firm believer that everything unfolds as it should. I know that whatever comes next for you will be exactly what you need. Keep your heart open and know that you have touched my life with your kind words. Isn’t it incredible to have this kind of human connection in such a random way? Stay strong and THANK YOU for your support!
I was just looking through the College of Letters and Science magazine from UC Davis and saw you and your book listed. I was also an English major who graduated in 1997 from Davis, and, though I never aspired to be an author, I’m very happy to know that you’re a graduate of the program. Studying English at Davis was like finding a gem tucked into a tucked in the pocket of a lab coat. Anyhow, congratulations on your success; I’ll look forward to reading your book.
Thanks, Kristen! I agree about Davis and the English Department. You phrased it beautifully: “like finding a gem tucked into the pocket of a lab coat.” It was such a wonderful place filled with brilliant minds — both in the faculty and students.
I am so glad you dropped a note here. I hope you enjoy Driftwood and that all is well with you and yours. xo! Go Aggies!
My name is Dana. I’m 21 years old and am currently residing in Las Vegas. I was looking at my bookshelf and decided to pick up 1,033 Reasons to Smile. Flipping through it, pleasant nostalgia washed over me from the first dozen times I read it. I would love to make some of the “Reasons” into a short video series. May I have your permission to turn some of the Reasons to Smile into a short video series? With credit of course! And seeing that you minored in film in your bio, would you like to collaborate on the project?
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Dana, you are the sweetest! I am so glad you liked the book. Your idea sounds cool and I would love to see what you come up with. Let me know what you need from me. You can email me at the.edutt [at] gmail. Can’t wait to hear from you!
Dear Elizabeth Dutton,
I absolutely love your book 1,047 Reasons to Smile! It’s such an inspiration to keep a positive attitude and enjoy the little things in life. This year, I’m challenging myself to reach out and collect advice and stories from creators who inspire me. Do you have any advice on how to find your own happiness? What about following your dreams?
I am so glad to hear from you! I love challenges like the one you’ve set for yourself. And here are some bits of advice and experience I can share with you:
I’ve learned that we simply cannot gain happiness from a source outside ourselves. Sure, other people and activities can enrich our happiness, but it’s up to us to plant that initial flag. When I wrote the Smile book (initially 1,033 and then the 1,047 edition), I was given the title of a book to write and that was it. I had to come up with the format, the content, everything. I was at a really low place in my life and this became a total lifeline. I tasked myself with coming up with 20 things that made me smile each day. That was my calculation to reach the deadline. Once I got past kittens and stuff like that, I got stuck. And I slowly realized that I needed to use my perspective, my worldview, as the window to reach those smiles. I had to take the happiness I already had in me (but didn’t feel was there) as a means of seeing the things in life that would make me smile. And soon I learned that I was in charge of whether I was happy or not. No one makes anyone else feel a certain way. We are at choice about the emotions we feel. This is both a little scary and a lot liberating. Things can bring us down, but we get to choose to come back up. That’s pretty powerful. We don’t control anything in this world other than the way we react to things. That concept has made me able to choose to be happy and when I am not, to be able to choose a path that will get me to happiness. And what is happiness? Comfort in our own skin. Satisfaction that we put positivity into the world. Pretty simple.
As to following dreams, I am a believer in positive risk. We are here for a very brief moment in time and it’s foolish not to go after the dreams we all have. Almost all of the time it is positive risk, meaning that the worst case scenario isn’t much different than our current state. If we come to enjoy change, we can see that there are endless possibilities out there and it’s ridiculous not to take a chance on them. And it’s also important not to have tunnel vision when it comes to our dreams and aspirations. If we’re too set on a specific outcome, we miss sight of other wonderful opportunities waiting in the wings. It’s important to see everything as an opportunity. Life expands and become thrilling when we do that.
I hope I’ve been of some help. And I hope your year is an exciting one full of fantastic surprises.
Thanks again for getting in touch!