Gayle King, lead anchor of CBS This Morning, has landed some of the most sought-after interviews of the decade in just the past few months. Recently sitting down with former First Lady Michelle Obama, music icon Tina Turner, and alleged sex offender singer R. Kelly, it’s only a matter of time before King is having a conversation with another living legend.
In addition to serving on the daily morning news program, King is also the Editor-at-Large for O, The Oprah Magazine. And that’s not where her publishing prowess ends – few may realize that King can add a book to her list of credentials.
Note to Self
Beginning as a segment on CBS This Morning, Note to Self presents top names from all industries writing a letter to their younger selves, giving advice and encouragement. Over the years, a number of high-profile icons have been featured including Astronaut Peggy Whitson, Vice President Joe Biden, Maya Angelou, Kesha, Oprah Winfrey, and even Kermit the Frog.
King decided to collect some of the most memorable letters and comprise an entire book entitled Note to Self: Inspiring Words from Inspiring People. As King described in her introduction, “We asked visionaries, entertainers, politicians, humanitarians, athletes—even a Muppet—what they’d want to tell their younger selves, and we filmed every man, woman, and frog as they read their answers.”
Each note shares personal experiences, bittersweet memories, and heartfelt wisdom of someone who has learned through life’s lessons. King wrote, “… each person in this collection speaks from a place of hard-won enlightenment. They are people who’ve been tested. Many have gone through unimaginable loss; many have triumphed in ways nobody believed possible. All have faith, resilience, and a mighty heart.”
Drawing from her own experience
King shared in the introduction an incident when she was a 9-year-old school girl, writing, “It’s funny the things that stay with you. I was in third or maybe fourth grade, studying the presidents, when a boy named Wayne Viviano decided to share his latest off-the-mark epiphany with me: ‘If it weren’t for Abraham Lincoln,’ he said, ‘you’d be my slave!’”
The news anchor recalled emotions of embarrassment, and went to her mother for clarity. “I remember feeling embarrassed, looking around the room to see if anyone else had heard him and wondering if other kids felt the same way,” King wrote. “I remember rushing home after school to ask my mother if Wayne was telling the truth. My mom reassured me: ‘Wayne Viviano doesn’t know what he’s talking about,’ she said.”
King reflected on that time, using it as a foundation for the book. “So if I could send that skinny little nine-year-old girl with the braided pigtails and the happy smile a message from the woman she had grown up to be, what is it I would tell her?” she wrote.
Makes you wonder what you would write…
King’s collection of letters of people advising their younger selves will inevitably make readers ponder what they would put on paper. Her series of questions in her introduction will definitely stir those perusing the pages of Note to Self. “The real question is this: How would you answer if you could write the younger you a letter? What advice, comfort, insight would you choose to include? Would you let your seventh-grade self know that sometimes insecurity comes across as mean? Would you tell your twentysomething self that not getting the job you thought you really wanted was actually a blessing in disguise?” she posed in the introduction.
Empathy and understanding are at the core of King’s book. “Imagine being able to send word that marriage gets complicated and that sometimes the decision to stick it out—or to leave—is the best one you will make in life. Or maybe you could warn your younger self that the parents you thought were invincible will make some giant mistakes,” she wrote. “I don’t know about you, but there were a few times when the only thing my younger self wanted to hear was very simple: You are going to get through this with your body and soul intact. That’s also the healing message of our segment, and of this book.”