NKD Mag - Issue #48 (June 2015)

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it was right as ‘Same Love’ had kind of blown up. So we kinda connected with her at this perfect moment.” Perfect moments happen often with this company. Between releasing a movie and a book, If You Feel Too Much, this is one of TWLOHA’s busiest but most exciting years. For Jamie, the book has been a long work in progress. “It’s something I’ve been talking about for years, so in a way it’s long overdo. I was kinda cried wolf about it for a long time,” Jamie explains, adding that now felt like the right time because the movie was also being released. “It felt like there’s no better time than to try to marry the two and let them happen two months apart. So you know I’ve just had this vision for kinda realizing I had written so much that I was proud of and wanting it to have a home.” Jamie also found the right publisher, Tarcher/Penguin, quickly; it was the first offer he received. “Not only did they want the book but they were willing to do it in about half the amount of time that a book typically takes,” he says. “It felt like such a perfect fit, and so we really found this great partner. But it was something I thought about for so long, and to me it’s an interesting mix. ‘Cause for people that have followed the organization or even my writing I think the book will contain some of their favorite things because even the original To Write Love On Her Arms Story is in there. It’s 10 years of writing.” “It’s not a memoir ... It’s not like the typical narrative,” Jamie explains. “It’s very personal.” The book itself entails 44 separate stories from Jamie’s life, dating back to his pre-TWLOHA days as a Hurley representative. “I picked out all of the pieces in the book, all 44 stories. One I had to sort of fight for, but then the editor came around and kind of let me have my way. It was one piece that she thought didn’t really fit but I got to plead my case as to why… But [the editing] felt really healthy… I didn’t

wanna go back and completely redo things out of respect for what was there.” Having never worked with an editor before, Jamie faced difficult challenge when writing this book. However, he recognized the need to share the stories. The editing process was also healthy for him, and he improved his own story. “Part of me just feels like I had to get this stuff out there, and hopefully it lets me move on to say other things,” he shares. The book itself came out right after the movie, and as any TWLOHA supporter would know, the movie has been a crazy experience. They didn’t know if the movie would actually be released. “It really has been such a roller coaster,” he says. “And we didn’t make it … That’s something that a lot of people assume, especially with the title, that we made this movie, or that we had creative control. And this thing was gonna happen with or without us, and in the end the only way Sony would buy the film was if they could use our title, so it gave us this decision to make … I’m just glad [the fans] finally got the chance to see it.” The subject matter of the film doesn’t disappoint; it provides a raw insight to the situation it’s representing. “It’s not an easy movie, it’s a lot darker than people assume,” Jamie explains. “It doesn’t all have an easy ending, it doesn’t have this easy ending.” The story originates from a time when Jamie assisted his friend Renee with her drug addiction, so they know these struggles are long stories, and ones that people are still working on. “This real story [Renee] would say she’s a work in progress nine years later.” His humility extends to even the largest successes of his career, and into the fact that he never thought he’d meet an actor playing himself in a movie — or even being part of a movie in the first place. “I joke that there’s never really been the five-year

plan or the 10-year plan. I’ve always seen it more as a creative project,” he says. “I personally realized I love to write, and writing has been such a big part of our DNA, it’s how we started. So a book was something I started to dream about, and the tension was I had so many other responsibilities, a movie was not something I ever would have imagined. I think it’s fun for anyone to imagine.” All of the accomplishments are attributed to surprises and open doors. Jamie expresses how blessed they have been, yet he still wants to improve. “We’re trying to do things in a way that’s unique … Non-profit is just a way we file our taxes … to me this thing is multi-faceted; we get to work on so many things … We get to do it all under one roof.” And while doing so, TWLOHA has created a community, comparable to a fan base, of dedicated followers who believe equally in the company, and the company believes in the community. With 1.4 million likes on Facebook, it’s easy to see how powerful an idea can be. So when asked his ideas for the future, he hasn’t given a lot of thought to what’s next, between the business of book and the movie. “It’s been so much work to do those at the same time, and for me personally, the book is so personal obviously,” Jamie says. “I’m curious to see what happens when the dust settles.” So far he’s had million-dollar ideas that have helped many people. With such a smart mind, and a good heart, there are many people who would also want to see what’s next. Jamie and To Write Love On Her Arms’ mission is simple: “If they struggle with depression addiction, self injury, people who think about suicide, we just want them to know that they’re not alone, and we want people to know that it’s okay to talk about these things, that it’s okay to be honest, and, more than anything, that it’s okay to ask for help.” NKD NKDMAG.COM


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