I began this project with subscribers to my email newsletter, but it’s been so fascinating and enjoyable, I’m setting a permanent home for it here.
In my younger days, and in fact well beyond the introduction of email into my daily life, I used to write a lot of letters. Though I never had a formal pen-pal, one blessing of moving far way every so often was that I left good friends behind. So where in high school I’d ignore my teachers by writing lengthy notes to my best friend whom I’d see in half an hour, as I got older I’d ignore my professors by writing letters I’d send through the mail to people I trusted with my most verbose thoughts.
At some points in my early-adult development, these letters became like a kind of semi-public diary for me. In telling another human being what I was thinking and feeling, I felt I accomplished something I couldn’t achieve through keeping a journal only for myself (I did keep a journal for quite a long time, too).
Some confessions had to pass beyond my own eyes in order for me to properly confront myself. I needed the perspective. Even if my friend never wrote back, I needed to have the experience of examining myself from what I anticipated might be their perspective. And I needed to feel, sometimes, like I got things off my chest. I needed to share the burden.
Today, I invite you to experience that kind of release.
Please Do This:
Write me a letter. Write me a letter about a fear or worry or discomfort you feel regarding your creativity — about making things, about making money from creative pursuits, about perfectionism, about judgment, about frustration, about failure, whatever. Even if you never even think about your creativity, I want you to think about it now. And write me a letter about it.
Next, send me the letter. I will not judge you. I will not roll my eyes at you. I will not think you’re being ridiculous.
If you tell me to, I’ll destroy the letter after I read it and never mention it to a soul.
If you give me permission to, I might write about your letter on my blog, in my newsletter or in the book I’m writing about how we experience creativity and creative acts (I can do this anonymously or by crediting you — whichever you indicate in your letter).
Take half an hour or three hours or five minutes. Get it off your chest. Before you can convince yourself you’re being stupid or silly or that you’re whining to a relative stranger, SEND IT. Lick the envelope and slap a stamp on it (remember your postage needs to get your letter to me in Canada).
Address it to:
P.O. Box 45536
Vancouver, BC V6S 2N5
(For the love of puppies, don’t email me. I’m very much looking forward to deciphering your scrawl.)