Tuesday, June 29, 2010

TDTL Day 14: Someone You've Drifted Away From

Dear Katie,

We may not have known each other terribly long, but I felt like it was a longer friendship than it was. I miss talking to you all the time, through texting and online and Skype. I always enjoyed our conversations. I liked trying to work on that musical with you and B. I wish that hadn't stopped. That was fun.

What happened? After the Louisville trip, it was like you retreated as fast as you could. I don't really know what happened in the fall-out between you and B after I left. All I know is that you seemed pressured to choose between groups of friends. You started pulling away after that weekend. And then you started school and I never heard from you after that. We haven't talked in a year and I don't know what happened. I hope everything's okay and I'm sorry if I did something to upset you. It hurts that we've lost touch. It hurts more that you didn't choose me.

Monday, June 28, 2010

TDTL Day 13: Someone You Wish Could Forgive You

Dear Person I Wish Could Forgive Me,

I don't know who you are. I can't place who you are. I can't see your face. I wish I could, because then I could address this directly to you.

For whatever I did to hurt you, I'm sorry. I'm pretty sure that whatever I did, I did it unintentionally. I don't like hurting people and I hate the feeling that I may have hurt someone accidentally and can't remember. This isn't an insult. This isn't saying that you're not worth remembering. This is saying that I'm human and make mistakes and I have a bad memory sometimes. I don't know who is holding resentment against me for something I did, but that doesn't make the transgression any less painful. Whatever I did.

I'm sorry for what I did and I'm sorry I can't remember. I hope you'll find it in your heart to forgive me.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

TDTL Day 12: The Person You Hate the Most/Caused You the Most Pain

Dear Anne,

Don't think I've forgotten. I may not have seen you since fifth grade, but don't think I've forgotten the two years of being your "friend." I haven't forgotten the torment, the expectations, the fact that you were only truly kind when absolutely no one else was around or it benefited you the most. I haven't forgotten how you deliberately left me out of things. This may all sound petty, but to a kid with no friends to speak of, it hurt. I still remember that pain. I probably always will.

But, somehow, I should also thank you. If it wasn't for the way you treated me, I may not have come to love writing in the deep way I do today. Your leaving me out meant I spent my days alone writing. The pain you caused me fueled pain I could use to understand my characters. I can still call on that pain.

I don't know why you acted like that toward me. I can't imagine what thrill you got out of tormenting me. So thanks for my writing, but I don't understand. I'm not sorry you moved away. I'm not sorry I've never seen you since.

Don't think I forget.

TDTL Day 11: A Deceased Person You Wish You Could Talk To

Dear Jennifer,

This may seem strange since you passed so long ago when I was so young. Fifteen years is a long time and seven-years-old was too young for me to understand. Ten-years-old was too young for you to go. That's about all I understood--you were gone and you were too young to do so. I couldn't really cry because you were the first person I knew who died so suddenly. And you were so close to my own age. I couldn't wrap my head around all that.

I'm sorry I didn't go to your funeral. I really wish I had, because that whole bit just feels like this giant open ending to me now. I can't really explain it. I just know that I regret not really getting to say goodbye.

You were one of the nicest people I ever knew. You would have made a great mother one day. You were always taking care of Amy, Laura, and me when the family was all together. You tried to teach me to boogie board once in Nags Head. That was the difficult since I didn't really know how to swim very well. So you tried to help teach me to swim. That didn't work so well either, but I appreciated to effort. It's so unfair that you never had the chance to grow up, that the world never got to fully experience you.

I'd always felt a little connected to you (more than the whole cousin thing, I mean) because we shared a middle name. That seemed special to me and I liked it. I still like it. My middle name is even more special to me now, because it still connects us. That might sound weird, but it's true. Speaking of connections, did you know that on the day you died I got in a playground accident? My mouth hit another kid's head. My gum started bleeding and I had to be rushed to the dentist. It was the only time I ever had to leave school because of an emergency like that. Weird, right?

I miss you. I love you.

Friday, June 25, 2010

TDTL Day 10: Someone you don't talk to as much as you'd like

Dear Amanda,

I can't believe how much we don't talk anymore. We used to be attached at the hip. We were close as could be from the time we were in seventh grade. I wish we could be close like that again. I wish we could go back to before we grew apart. I wish I could know why we grew apart.

It's like as soon as we hit senior year of college, we were traveling on two different halves of the same group of friends. I don't know how that happened, since we were all one group. We all got along. It wasn't like there was a fight or anything. I wish that weird divide had never happened. I miss our stupid adventures and laughs and conversations. I miss our time spent in marching band and just hanging out.

I wish you would join in with the group here more. I wish you were easier to get in touch with and a little less (probably only seemingly) antisocial. You only live about two seconds away, it shouldn't be this hard for us to stay in touch. I wish we could go back to the way things were before. I miss talking to you all the time.

Why did we have to not only grow up but also somehow grow apart?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

TDTL Day 9: Someone You Wish You Could Meet

Please don't judge my nerdiness.


Dear JKR,

This is going to sound unbelievably nerdy, but here it goes. I've very much admired you since I was about 13 years old and fell in love with your book and your own story. I don't mean to sound like yet another obnoxious fan, but it's true. Your story inspires me (and inspired me back when I first heard it at thirteen and was still trying to find my writing confidence) and Harry Potter moves me.

I have a confession--I never truly wanted to read your Harry Potter books. Sad, but true. I was annoyed into picking up the first one by my friends who just wouldn't shut up about the series. I started reading the first book expecting to hate it. I fully planned on getting halfway through it and giving up, proving my friends wrong. I had never liked fantasy and I told myself I never would. It just wasn't for me. Imaginary locations and unearthly magic and creatures that you'd never see in the "real world?" No, thanks. The only problem was...well...I couldn't quite put Sorcerer's Stone down. I breezed through the halfway mark and kept going. Next thing I knew, I was reading Chamber of Secrets. Within a month or so, I was finishing Goblet of Fire (at that time, only the first four books had come out). I was addicted. I was now joining my friends in book discussions and theorizing. I went to the midnight releases of the final three books. I saw all the movies within their first day (it would have been the midnight releases of all of those too, but pesky high school got in the way). I read Deathly Hallows in 24 hours. I've read the entire series, beginning to end, straight through, twice in one year. I get lost in the magic. I become emotionally invested and laugh out loud and cry.

I didn't want to read the books because my friends wouldn't shut up about them, but now I can't shut up about them either. Go figure.

So thanks. Thanks for creating this amazing world and then sharing it with all of us. Thanks for introducing me to the fantasy genre (I'm hooked now, by the way, and I probably wouldn't have ever tried it otherwise). Thanks for making me believe anything is possible, in the real world and the writing world. It's amazing what all you've done.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

TDTL Day 8: Your Favorite Internet Friend

Before I share today's letter, I just want to explain that the fact that I address it to someone with a letter for her name doesn't mean I want her identity to be unknown, like it's been in letters past (and letters future, really, because this is the only person this would apply to). I literally call this person B. She calls me M. It's a joke because we have the same first name and confuse our mutual friends...so we started being referred to by our last initials. Just wanted to throw that out there for your own amusement/information.


Dear B,

What can I say? Way back when we started talking on IMMB (why did the twelve-year-olds with a serious lack of grammar skills have to take it over), who would have thought we'd still be this close, what, three years down the road? You're completely crazy, but I would have it no other way. You make me smile and your texts and Facebook comments frequently make my day.

I'm truly blessed to have you as a friend (and a brain twin). You sometimes understand me more than others (that whole "brain twin" thing again, you know). You're someone I can completely geek out about Broadway-ness and lament the collective difficulties of the "real world" with. Those few months we spent trying to write and compose a musical along with Katie were months that I keep close to my heart and smile when I think back on them. Sure, that ended in epic fail, but it was a fun time nonetheless. Chaotic Skype chats, anyone? I also enjoyed our short trip to Louisville to see Spring Awakening. I still have the bag you made me hanging in a place of honor in my closet (where a small collection of bags and such hang out). Someday, you'll actually get me to NYC to see Broadway and Times Square and all that first hand.

You're awesome. You're funny. You make me smile. You're a fellow ERIN, for crying out loud! I absolutely love having you as a friend!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

TDTL Day 7: A Stranger

Here's my latest fail: day SIX was supposed to be a letter to a stranger and TODAY was supposed to be a letter to the ex-boyfriend/love/crush. I read a line down yesterday when I was getting ready to write yesterday's letter and, thus, skipping a day ahead in the prompts. So today I'm playing time machine and taking it back to what I was supposed to write about yesterday.


Dear Stranger,

I've passed you on the street or in an aisle at Walmart or in the office cafeteria. I may have seen you at the coffee shop or the bookstore or the library. I may even have honked at you if you were dawdling at an intersection (sorry about that, by the way, but my tolerance isn't always very high regarding my fellow drivers).

Regardless of who you are or where our paths crossed, I inevitably noticed you in some way. You may have been saying something I thought would make clever dialogue. Maybe your behaviors inspired me to create a new character. Perhaps you were just doing something really weird like wearing a pair of fairy wings and/or a tutu in a coffee shop that made me wonder why someone would actually go out in public on a day nowhere near Halloween wearing fairy wings and/or a tutu. My brain takes in your habits and your words and all those other bits you might think no passer-by would care to notice and stores it to break out in a moment's notice for a character or a scene or a whole story. I don't do this on purpose. Just don't be surprised if we have an encounter for all of thirty seconds and down the road you recognize a bit of yourself in one of my novels.

Monday, June 21, 2010

TDTL Day 6: Your Ex-Boyfriend/Love/Crush

Dear A,

You were my first boyfriend, as much as middle schoolers can have a girlfriend/boyfriend relationship. You danced with me once at a school dance because my friends asked you to and I have the feeling you felt sorry for me. That may even be why you asked me out in the first place--because you felt sorry for me. Whatever. Either way, I still consider you my first boyfriend.

Our relationship mostly consisted of leaving notes for each other in our mailboxes and hanging out with your friends in your backyard. Not very romantic, but I think I was so completely thrilled that someone could actually like me in "that way" that it didn't even matter that much. I looked forward to seeing you or to reading your notes. But my heart was never fully into it, I think, nor do I think yours was either. This was just a relationship between two kids in middle school. While it felt real at the time (mostly because I had nothing to which to compare it), in retrospect, it wasn't much. I think that's why when you broke up with me after only a couple months, I wasn't terribly upset. I was sad, of course, but I later learned it wasn't truly a broken heart. Broken hearts hurt for longer than I hurt for you.

I'm glad we became friends in high school. I still cherish the memories of the lunches we spent in the same group. We were always more friends material than dating material, and I think you probably knew that too.

Regardless, thanks for being my first boyfriend. I'm sure you're better at it now.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

TDTL Day 5: Your Dreams

Dear Dreams,

People have frequently told me that I have a large imagination, but the truth is most of that time it's been dreaming, in one way or another. For that I have to thank you, because you are the one thing that has always been completely present. You carried me through the years of friendless misery by giving me imaginary friends. You inspired me to work harder. You keep me awake at night, filling my head with story ideas. It's because of you that I know what I'm meant to do and am excited to do it. I can't thank you enough for all you've given me. You've given me hope when I felt I had none. You keep me going when I start to get discouraged. You amuse me when I'm bored. You give me things to look forward to and goals to achieve. Don't ever leave me.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

TDTL Day 4: Your Sibling

Dear Laura,

I know we don't always get along. In fact, there have been many times over the years that I've wanted nothing more than to give you a sharp kick to the shin (and I have a feeling the urge was mutual). The truth is, most of the time, I would do anything for you. That's what sisters are for.

It's hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that you're going to be off to college in the fall. It just doesn't feel like you should be old enough to do that yet. I think college is going to be good for you. It will challenge you far more than high school (or anything else, for that matter) was ever able to do. And here's my biggest suggestion to you: have fun. YOu sometimes get so incredibly wrapped up in being perfect (which is annoying as hell, by the way) that I think you sometimes forget to enjoy the whole ride. If I find out you're spending every free minute at ONU in a practice room, I might have to drive up there myself and beat you over the head with your own trumpet. I know you have to practice, but please, for all that's good in the world, spend at least a little time away from the trumpet. Join a club. Make new friends. Distance makes the heart grow fonder. And don't worry yourself into sickness if you find some classes in college are harder than what you did in high school. It happens. It's good for the humility. It's okay to struggle from time to time. It's okay to not be perfect all the time. You're going to need to grasp that concept sooner or later.

I love you dearly and hope the years ahead of you are filled with excitement and happiness and adventures. Make memories.

TDTL Day 3: Your Parents

Remember when I said one of the reasons I wouldn't be able to share a letter on here the night I wrote it might be because the power went out? Guess what happened last night, just as I was about to publish this post to my blog. Figures. But I swear I wrote this letter yesterday...


Dear Mom and Dad,

There are absolutely no words to explain how much you mean to me, but I'm going to try. I honestly believe you're the best parents someone could hope for...and that's not just because I'm more than a little biased.

Thank you for believing in me, even when I didn't always reach what may have been your expectations. Even when I wasn't a straight-A student in high school. Even when I struggled to regain--and keep--my college scholarship. You believed I could succeed and knew I would be happy with however I got there.

Thank you for encouraging me to dream. You've never once said a dream of mine was too big. You didn't smirk when I decided to study Creative Writing. You've always let me dream big and do what makes me happiest.

Thank you for letting me be my own person. I know our views on various issues differ, sometimes dramatically, but you've let me discover what I believe in, instead of trying to make me think only how and what you think. You don't judge me negatively because I chose to be the black sheep and follow more liberal views. You let me say what I think.

And, of course, thank you for reading me bedtime stories. Thank you for the hours spent at the library and for keeping me room stocked with books of all kinds. Thank you for letting my imagination run haywire and listening to my long-winded tales before I was old enough to write them down (and since then too, for that matter). Thank you for putting up with my writerly mood swings and slightly irrational behavior. Thank you for not judging me too much when I ask to see something like the medical dictionary for a scene I'm writing.

But most of all, thanks for loving me for me.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

TDTL Day Two: Your Crush

FYI...in the case of some of these letters, I may not want to reveal to whom I'm actually writing. In this case, I'll just use first initials.


Dear J,

I've liked you for several years now, but I'm fairly sure you have absolutely no idea. I don't feel like I've been subtle. I've even stepped out of my comfort zone and asked you to events, but I still don't think you get it. I'm sorry for this and I'm sorry if I've only been obnoxious. I've never been good at expressing those particular feelings, because they make me feel nervous and stupid. And I'm painfully old-fashioned when it comes to relationships, meaning that I have an irrational fear of making the first move.

Here's the truth: You make me smile. You make me laugh. When we talk, I feel like the prettiest girl in the room. I always love seeing you. I adore your hugs. I crave your attention. If I know we'll be at the same place or event, I look forward to talking with you. You give me butterflies.

I'm nearly 23 years old, but I always feel like a giggly teenager when you're around.

Why do you do that to me?

I wish I had the courage to share my feelings with you. I wish you knew the truth. I wish I could be more than that girl you've known for so many years. I wish you could see me more than a sister or a friend or whatever it is you see me as.

I wish you could know how I feel about you.

Until then, or until I can move on, I'll just have to satisfy myself with hugs when we see each other and poke wars on Facebook.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

TDTL Day One: Your Best Friend

First day of Thirty Days, Thirty Letters (or...TDTL as I'm abbreviating it on the post titles, since it would be too long of a title otherwise)! I want to preface this letter with saying that I have many best friends and I love them all dearly, but I didn't want to write ten or twelve different letters today. So I went with the best friend I've known the longest, the one with whom I have the most history. Please feel no offense if I didn't write to you...it doesn't mean you're NOT one of my best friends...it just means you haven't known me for eighteen years (I know you're relieved).


Dear Tracy,

I've known you so long that I can't even recall the day we met. I know it was probably the very first day of kindergarten. Looking back across nearly, what, eighteen years, it amazes me how far we've come. We started out as classmates and acquaintances. We were soon fellow Girl Scouts in Troop 1203 (ah, good times), bonded together in the troop by our similar lack of popularity. From there we went to friends, to fellow bandies, to best friends, to nearly sisters. To inseparable.

The adventures we've had are many. The laughs we've had are innumerable. I truly don't know what my life would be like if you weren't in it. Girl Scouts was full of fond times and cherished memories--Indianapolis, COSI camp-ins, Thinking Days, day camps, camporees, and our many luxurious mid-winter mother/daughter lodge camping trips. Marching band was the same way--no busses to get to States, marching in a foot of mud, football games, contests, freezing rain, leadership retreat forts, Wendy's and Steak & Shake outings, screaming obnoxious cheers until we were hoarse.

You're the friend I've known the longest and who knows me best. You're the one who tolerates all aspects of my nerdiness and brings me back to Earth easiest. We laugh. We cry. We've fought. We don't always see eye-to-eye. But I know that, no matter what, you'll always be there, because you've always been there. I can ask for nothing greater.

You've changed me "for good."

Thank you for that.

Thirty Days, Thirty Letters Challenge

I originally heard about this over on Michelle Zink's blog, because one of my fellow regular participants in Thursday Night Write is doing this on her blog. Confused yet?

Here's how it works. Thirty days. Thirty letters. The prompts are already set (the full list can be seen on Michelle's blog, but I'll put it here too so you can follow along). The goal is to write one letter each day and not stray from the original prompts. Which, I'll admit, is going to be hard. But I'm going to try my best. If nothing else, this will give me a chance to explore my own relationships and my own demons and memories...all of which are important to the stories I'm trying to write right now.

Excited? Yeah, me too.

I'll post the letters here as I finish them. I'm actually handwriting them in a journal of mine, so even if I miss a day of posting here it doesn't mean the letter never got WRITTEN. More than likely I got distracted by something shiny before I got the chance to post it here at night. Or there was another storm and I had to turn off my computer. Those are the two most likely reasons why I might have to miss sharing a letter here one night. But, never fear, if I miss a night of sharing the letters here...I'll simply share two letters here the next day. And I'll be honest with you too. If a letter doesn't get shared on here because I'm a lazy bum and didn't write one that day...I'll let you know.

Here's the list of themes for each day, in case you want to follow along or participate too:

Day 1 — Your Best Friend
Day 2 — Your Crush
Day 3 — Your parents
Day 4 — Your sibling (or closest relative)
Day 5 — Your dreams
Day 6 — A stranger
Day 7 — Your Ex-boyfriend/girlfriend/love/crush
Day 8 — Your favourite internet friend
Day 9 — Someone you wish you could meet
Day 10 — Someone you don’t talk to as much as you’d like to
Day 11 — A Deceased person you wish you could talk to
Day 12 — The person you hate most/caused you a lot of pain
Day 13 — Someone you wish could forgive you
Day 14 — Someone you’ve drifted away from
Day 15 — The person you miss the most
Day 16 — Someone that’s not in your state/country
Day 17 — Someone from your childhood
Day 18 — The person that you wish you could be
Day 19 — Someone that pesters your mind—good or bad
Day 20 — The one that broke your heart the hardest
Day 21 — Someone you judged by their first impression
Day 22 — Someone you want to give a second chance to
Day 23 — The last person you kissed
Day 24 — The person that gave you your favorite memory
Day 25 — The person you know that is going through the worst of times
Day 26 — The last person you made a pinky promise to
Day 27 — The friendliest person you knew for only one day
Day 28 — Someone that changed your life
Day 29 — The person that you want tell everything to, but too afraid to
Day 30 — Your reflection in the mirror

And...here we go!