Two weeks ago I sat down and wrote forty-five handwritten notes to people who had come to my writing workshop at the library.
On Friday, I wrote a dozen more to the students and staff at a school where I'd been the artist-in-residence for three and a half days.
When I told Claire about my morning at the kitchen table, writing letters, I asked, "Do you think people care? I mean, I love doing it, but do you think it matters? Am I crazy?"
She said, "Mom. It's personal. That matters."
I had a faint hope, but no expectation of hearing back from any of my "library people" until I found a letter in my mailbox from a man I'll call Arthur.
The first thing that struck me was his handwriting.
A flourish of cursive.
I sat down and tore open the envelope. Nestled inside were two small sheets of paper that fit in the palm of my hand. The first page was about the workshop, how he'd enjoyed it but was used to much smaller groups. Me too. I read on, hungry, the truest word for how I was feeling, to hear more. On page two, his writing dropped down into the personal...
Memories are another thing. I rarely share those experiences with anyone but my wife - as some of those occasions in my life have been heart-wrenching and on occasion can be highly-emotionally filled and at times I've had to stop to keep myself from crying, but somehow, someway, there is always something inside of me that tells me to carry on - and put it down on paper."
This is the healing piece, the heart-wrenching, yet heart-opening aspect of writing. The act of seeing what lives inside you, what you love, what you fear, what has its talons in you. On the other side of the tears is freedom, connection, a lightness, a homecoming.
The handwritten note is still alive.
Thank you, Arthur, for sharing
that something inside of you.