Excerpt: 'Note to Self'

In her new book, filmmaker Andrea Buchanan gets 30 women to share their personal stories. "Note to Self: 30 Women on Hardship, Humiliation, Heartbreak, and Overcoming It All" includes pieces from Sheryl Crow and Camryn Manheim.

Buchanan's book tells of how their trials and tribulations made the women stronger and more successful. Read an excerpt of the book below and check out more from the "GMA" library.


As far back as I can remember, my father wrote little notes to himself about everything. They were reminders, really, little scraps of paper with nuggets of wisdom. This way, he could recall a thought or follow-up on a half-baked idea or a new creation. For a time he was an inventor, so ideas were his life, and he would not let one of them pass him by. Even his wardrobe functioned as a facilitator to his ideas. He would not wear shirts unless they had two pockets: one for his pens, the other for his scraps of paper. "Function over fashion" was his motto.

VIDEO: A woman looking at her premature baby in an incubator.

After the invention of sticky notes, (someone else's brilliant idea), they became a staple in our home, perhaps more important than sugar or coffee or rice. They were everywhere, but most of them could be found on the kitchen table in a neatly organized row alongside the orange place mats and plastic fruit centerpiece. The notes were supposed to be relegated to his area of the table, but if they went unchecked they would creep toward my mother's, my three older sisters', or my place settings. A day didn't go by in which my mother wouldn't rightly complain about "those damn notes." While she rejected this practice of his, I embraced it. As the youngest of four girls, it was a bond that my Daddy and I shared. But I took it to another level: my notes were en vogue, beautifully penned on parchment paper (I think I even went so far as to laminate a few). Canvas inside a shadow box was probably my note de force. I gifted my husband one saying, "My love guaranteed."

Let me be clear: I don't write lists. I hate them. Somewhere along the way a list came to represent structure, rigidity, and that perfect girl in class who had the color-coded markers for every day of the week. I write things down on scraps of paper, on Post-it notes, on beautiful stationary, and on my hand. I would have them everywhere-just like my dad- but my husband hates clutter even more than my mother does. So he makes piles of all of the scraps and puts them by the phone, on my desk, near my computer.

I curate famous quotes, paraphrases of famous quotes, raw emotion, friends' quotes, snippets of phone conversations, ideas. To me they are like oxygen. I need them to breathe. A recent inventory yielded these gems:

"You get what you want."

"Receiving is Giving."

"Have more faith than fear."

"Breathe and breathe again."

"Listen to your instinct. It just might save you from yourself."

"Service is the rent we pay for living on the planet."

"Don't forget to exercise and drink water."

"Dream Big. You will have it all. You already do."

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