Last month, Heather Duffy, surrounded by friends and family, posthumously launched Anne Heche’s book, “Call Me Anne.” The book is a sequel to Heche’s first book, “Call Me Crazy,” published in 2001.
“The book is part memoir and includes tips on how Anne lived a happy and optimistic life and the part that kindness, and honesty and love plays into that,” said Duffy, who explained after she was escorted in by Heche’s son Atlas, who also joined her in signing books, that the book was nearly complete when Heche tragically died last summer.
Duffy, a public relations professional, longtime Larchmont Village resident, and leader in our community, was Heche’s best friend and business partner. The two created and co-hosted the podcast, “Better Together with Anne and Heather,” in which they invited guests to celebrate friendship. Heche was committed to the idea that you could create more joy in the world by sharing stories, stumbles, and triumphs, and when it came to love, everyone was worthy of acceptance and compassion.
“Anne would have loved this evening,” said Duffy. “I should be the one sitting the front row, worrying about what she is going to say,” she joked.
“Anne made the most of her time on the earth,” said Duffy. “She woke up every day incredibly optimistic despite the challenges she faced in her life. She lived her life with incredible honesty and accepted everyone for who they are with total and complete kindness. She really wanted people to find happiness and kindness and she wrote this book to help people.”
The words “joy” and “honesty” are used extensively throughout the book to encourage the reader. The book is organized into chapters, each with a lesson, often a brutally honest story from Heche’s life; a practice, her suggestions for how to work through a difficult situation; and challenge, something you can do, if you are motivated, to make a positive change. Heche also wrote poetry, which is interspersed throughout the book.
Duffy said that Heche had re-written the script of her life several times, and this time she wanted to re-write the script and give Heche the respect she deserved but did not have when she was alive. She said everyone should know how she changed the world when Heche took her brave stance in 1990s in support of LGBTQ+ rights. A rising star, Heche brought Ellen DeGeneres to the premiere of her latest movie “Volcano.” At the time, her open relationship with DeGeneres shocked Hollywood and her career suffered greatly for it. But Heche had no regrets.
“Same-sex marriages are now legal in this country, a right that did not exist at the time. There is nothing in my life I am prouder to have participated in — other than childbirth, of course!” wrote Heche.
The book was mostly finished when Heche died, leaving Duffy to tie the elements together. She explained that it seemed that Heche was guiding her along the way. One day, searching for a blank sheet of paper, Duffy came across something Heche had written on a note pad, that she thought was the perfect way to start the book:
“I believe in life everlasting. I believe it us ours to choose. For all the rest of my time on this earth, I choose to live to the fullest of my potential. I wake each day to another adventure and seek the wisdom it offers. That is the truth of me. The joy I feel in that commitment has provided me with purpose, love, meaning, and excitement. This is what I share. This is what I care about.”
– Anne Heche, “Call Me Anne”
Duffy read passages from the book including the “20 Commitments” Heche included in the book, which she talked about often:
- STOP: ignoring what you know
- RISK: looking further
- BUILD: a community of zero tolerance (here Heche refers to becoming a society that does not tolerate abuse of any kind, directed at anyone. Heche wrote of being born into an abusive family and being sexually abused by her father.)
- BE: a leader that demands full disclosure
- KNOW: what you see
- HEAL: with kindness
- CREATE: purpose within yourself
- TAKE: yourself out of the equation
- THINK: of others first
- LISTEN: to what you hear
- EXPLORE: possibility
- BIRTH: compassion for yourself and others
- CHOOSE: equity always and minorities first
- USE: your gifts
- SURPRISE: yourself and others
- FACE: your fears
- COMMIT: to offering more
- ACCEPT: guidance willingly
- EXPERIMENT: just try it
- LIVE OUT LOUD: be yourself.
Heche also wrote, “Speaking truth, making a practice of kindness, and embracing the love within yourself and that the world gives to you, are your pieces to the puzzle of creating your own practice of joy.”
“This book reminds us that living in truth, gives you peace and peace fosters kindness,” said Duffy. “In honor of Anne, let us all commit to doing one act of kindness this week. It doesn’t matter how small, as Anne would say, ‘let it ripple and triple,’ let’s do that for her.”
The book is available in print and the audio book is read by Heather Duffy.
About Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard is the co-editor and publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.
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