Monday, November 9, 2015

#DigiWriMo -- Letter to Humanity/ Writing to Things We Cannot See

It started with a writing prompt. And that was inspired by Tom O'Brien (The Things They Carried). He wrote a piece in life magazine - a letter to his son who was an infant. He wanted to say so many things to him that he wouldn't understand, but he might not get to say as an older father. So he wrote his son a letter.

Inspired by the idea of writing to someone who might not be there to read it, I asked my creative class of adults to try it as an inclass writing prompt. The result was amazing. The prompt is to write a letter to someone in the past, present, or future who may or may not read it.

Some people write to realtives that have passed. Some writer to people that they have disconnected with. It simply doesn't matter. One night, I offered the assignment to a class and everyone read. I got to my last sutdent and she read about her father comitting suicide. And half way through her reading, she broke down. And the most amazing moment was when she pounded on the desk, choked back all those emotions and said, "I have to finish this." And she did it. She read the entire letter. When I got done with the class and got out to the car, I sat for a moment. "What are you doing?" I asked myself.

Writing the things that are missing in your life, writing the invisible parts of your life is heavy lifting and I had no idea what I was doing, but it was important. I was showing writers that emotional writing is there, tapping into your most important missed opportunity in life is worth writing. Feeling it all over again - is not only okay, but it can be cathartic. I suppose that night when I sat in my car wondering about what I was doing in class -- that is when I realized the depths of writing, and the heavy lifting that is required to make writing meaningful and important. Every time I do this excersise, people cry or say something that makes other people cry. We all have something to say to people we can't say it to anymore -- and that is why we must write them.

Below is a few samples from the (more or less defunct) website I created. Try writing letters to people that can't read them, it might inspire you, it might break you, it might even make you laugh. And then toss them into a fire, throw them away, or better - send them to the person who needs them the most.

Here is two examples from the website. Formatting was crazy so here are the links.!our-first-letter-by-l-nichols/cfio!goodbye-baby-by-j-bouchard/c1u9u


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