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How long has it been since you sat down with pen and paper and wrote a letter? For me, it has been a long time. And I miss the way writing by hand helps me to think more clearly. It slows down the process and allows new ideas to develop. I have often been surprised when I put pencil to paper, at how much my mind has already prepared itself for the task. 

I have just reread Carolyn Heilbrun's book, Writing A Woman's Life. It has made me think a great deal about my own life as a woman and a writer. She says, "Women transform themselves only after an awakening." Heilbrun believes women are often middle-aged before the mask cracks and we open onto our true selves. 

Today I had an awakening. I thought about my women friends and their importance to me over the years--the way they helped me crack the mask and become me. I've lost touch with some of them. But many are still in my life--all have provided hands and hearts that have helped lift me up into myself. And so I am a writing a love letter to my women friends. 

To my cousin, Linda, my constant companion through the rutted streets of childhood, I write you a love letter for all the laughter and secrets we shared on our path to growing up. A love letter to the very first person I ever talked to about the mysteries of sex and males. A love letter to the woman who helped me through the deaths of my parents and brothers. A love letter to my cousin, my sister, my life-long friend.

To Diane Bussard with whom I wrote poems on a blanket in the piney woods of northern Delaware. At nineteen, we sipped port wine and took turns picking the topic of the next poem. I could tell you, Diane, that no blanket in any wood has provided me more joy in the small and daily miracles, than the one we shared all those years ago.

I could write a love letter to Marie Armstrong, my former neighbor, for the way she rescued me from the drudgery of two babies in diapers by taking care of them a couple hours a week. For the way she convinced me it was a joy to love my children as her own boys were nearly grown. She told me I didn't need to pay her back--that I would provide the same or another gift to some other woman. That, she said, was the way life worked. And she was right. Who couldn't write a love letter to this very wise and generous woman.  

To my current friends, I could write each of you a love letter for the ways in which you give to me--supporting me through the trials and tribulations of life--too numerous to mention. For rejoicing with me in each small victory along the way--for picking me up and brushing me off after the falls. For providing a safe and constant place to be whomever I am at any given moment. I could write you all a long love letter for having the courage and generosity of spirit to provide me with a mirror by which I constantly grow and marvel at this wonder that is me. 

I could also write a love letter to my daughter, Bonnie. To everything she means to me. To the ways in which she enables me to remember my own mother, to the many things she has taught me about unconditional love and what it means to be a woman in today's world. For the vision and perspectives she has given me on my father and the way she found so many things to love and respect in him. There is no doubt that I could write a love letter to Bonnie for the ways she helps me confront a self I previously denied. To everything she is and everything she will someday become--a life-long love letter to my daughter.     

So, I offer up a challenge to you now. Sit down and write a letter to someone you love. You'll be surprised by how good it feels.

 


Comments

Tanya
08/18/2013 8:36pm

A beautiful post, Susan. Thank you.

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Linda Wilkinson
08/20/2013 10:10am

Growing up together created memories no one can ever steal, borrow or makeup. My youth was amazing having you has my "only" sister at the time. I love you too my wonderful "Hamm-a-leg-a-bone"! You touch my heart so many ways - so lucky to have you as my soulmate.

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Martha Ragland
09/01/2013 2:22pm

How helpful to our happiness to spend a few minutes in gratitude. Thank you for bringing these memories to life for the rest of us.

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05/05/2014 6:02am

I was searching for the related topic you discussed in there. Good job. All the best.

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11/18/2014 6:44am

It is really interesting post but I do not see everything completely clear especially for someone not involved in that topic Anyway very interesting to me. THANKS

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11/18/2014 6:49am

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it is the genuine post about the writing..

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09/10/2015 10:56am

In most situations I would say it does not. You know, easy hellos from loved ones and such. Passing on awesome little pieces of information about each others lifestyles and what-not. In of situations I think e-mail is excellent to letter.

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Letter are special. However, the sad fact is that letter writing is gradually starting to be a missing art, as our youth's main way of interaction is through electronic devices.

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If you are talking to a person who write letter of dictation for peoples its probably a stenography But if its the characters of the abc etc is calligraphy wish this helps.

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When you write, you need to make sure your tense is correct. For example, your first sentence is in the existing modern tense, while your second two are later on tense. For all three to be the same they should be same

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At start a person feels a lot of problems to write letter or any other thing because at start there is a problem from where we start which start is suitable for the letter either a persuasive tone or direct tone will be better to convey the message.

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Barry
03/04/2016 2:08pm

Your autobiographical writings seem positively influenced by what you’ve managed to incorporate from Carolyn G. Heilbrun’s assertions as she stated: “What one remembers is, I think, a clue to what one wants to be.”

Lord knows, given what fates have befallen you along the years, you could have written the following quote from Carolyn G. Heilbrun, from The Last Gife of Time: Live Beyond Sixty, yourself: “Women, I believe, search for fellow beings who have faced similar struggles, conveyed them in ways a reader can transform into her own life, confirmed desires the reader had hardly acknowledge--desires that now seem possible. Women catch courage from the women whose lives and writings they read, and women call the bearer of that courage friend.

You are a unique voice, both in a literary and lyrical sense. I hope none of us will ever have to miss it and your readers are typically awed by your ability to make the commonplace happenings of a life well lived come to alive with infused dignity, respect, and joyful mortality. A true gift we hope to all remain open to as but look out our own windows.

“But will anyone again look at that tree, read that poem, love a dog in quite my way? I am a particular and, despite the commonness of all people, a unique person in the way I perceive and think and appreciate, and I am sad that this particularity shall before too long be gone. This is not arrogance; it is the simple truth, known to anyone who has loved a person dead in the fullness of her life: what we miss is the particularity, that unique voice. ― Carolyn G. Heilbrun, The Last Gift of Time: Life Beyond Sixty

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