Books

Dear Fellow Journalers,

Looking for a book to read about un-sent letters? Here are some you might like.

“Letters never sent”     by Sandra Moran

” Absolutely truly”        by Heather Vogel Frederick

” What she left behind”   by Marie Wiseman

” The Spice Box Letters  by Eva Makis

“The Letter”  by Kay Correll

“The Lavender Ribbon” by Heather Burch

 

~Happy Reading, Sallie

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A letter long over-due

Dear Fellow Journalers,

This story is a work of fiction, but it could have been and might still be written by someone who is struggling with the unsent letter.

…..”died on Wednesday.” The obituary was pretty straightforward. She skimmed the article and then almost dropped the coffee cup she’d been holding. ‘…. survived by his wife of 45 years. He leaves behind his son, ____ and his daughter ____”. She looked at his picture and remembered….

The last time she had seen him was 7 years ago. Back then she’d been on the cusp of adulthood and full of thoughts and dreams and ready to take on the world. She thought she knew everything and that her parents, especially her Dad, was  too strict. They’d had a tremendous fight over her smoking and he’d embarrassed her in front of her friends. She’d written a note to her Mom, grabbed her savings book, some clothes and climbed out her bedroom window. She’s been running ever since.

Along the way she had finished college (at night), got a job, met the man of her dreams and was planning on getting married. She had tried writing her parents  but never got past the “Dear Mom and Dad”. “Now I’ll never get to write that letter” she said aloud to the empty kitchen.

The wake was Friday afternoon but she couldn’t face her family. “Too many questions” she had told her roommate. The truth was she couldn’t face her ‘perfect brother, his perfect wife and their children’. She’d followed them on Facebook – smiling faces and awards. “What about your Mom?” Katy asked. She shook her head. ” I can’t go.”

Curiosity and a sense of obligation taunted her and she dressed and went out to the church on Saturday morning. She found a seat near the door. So many people she thought to herself. She recognized some of the neighbors and friends. Her brother (the lawyer) gave the eulogy. He mentioned her when he talked about their childhood. When her tears fell on the program she left. Later that night, after sharing a bottle of wine with her boyfriend, she sat at the desk in her bedroom and finally found the words….

Dear Mom and Dad,

     This letter is long overdue. I have written it in my mind many times but never put it on paper until now. I was so wrong about so many things. I thought I knew everything. I realize now that you were only trying to protect me. Smoking could have led to other, more horrible addictive things. In my case it didn’t. I gave up smoking. I know I must have hurt you so much when you didn’t know where I was.

~~~~~Present Day~~~~~

     “Mom” my daughter Megan called me from the back of the closet. “Look what I found!” She crawled out holding a packet of letters tied with a faded blue ribbon. ” They look like letters” I said. “Love letters?” She winked at me. I opened the envelope and read the first line ” Dear Mom and Dad.” Oh, It’s the letter I never sent my parents.” Megan asked quietly, “why not?” ” I realized that all the fancy stationery, my best pen and a postage stamp wouldn’t be the best way to tell them what I really felt. I swallowed my pride and fear and went to see them instead.”

 

~Sallie

 

Famous people’s unsent letters

Dear Fellow Journalers,

Lest you think that you’re the only one who’s faced their inner demons of writing un-sent letters take heart. Several famous people have written these missives but instead of destroying them, kept them for us to read many years later.

Abraham Lincoln composed “hot letterswhich later became “Never sent. Never signed.” According to Doris Kearns Goodwin of NPR, Lincoln dumped all his feelings on paper, then set it aside until he cooled down. Good thing too. One of those un-sent letters blamed General George Meade for letting Robert E. Lee escape after Gettysburg.

Mark Twain was as famous for penning “unallowable frankness and freedom” as he was for Tom Sawyer.

Harry S. Truman once almost informed the treasurer of the US that “I don’t think that the financial advisor of God himself would be able to understand what the financial position of the Government of the US is, by reading your statement.” He also was tempted to send the following to Senator Joseph R. McCarthy.  “You are not fit to have a hand in the operation of the Government of the United States. I am very sure that the people of Wisconsin are extremely sorry that they are represented by a person who has a little sense of responsibility as you have.”

Wow, can you imagine if that letter had actually been sent! The effect of all these letters is the same- anger, release, PEACE.

Six tips to writing a meaningful unsent letter and ritual

“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.”

William Wordsworth

Dear Fellow Journalers,

The first time you write an emotional letter you dump all  your feelings on paper- sadness, anger, regret, wonder, gratitude and finally joy. You write with what we’ve come to call “stream of consciousness.” This is writing without thought of grammar or punctuation.

     ~~~~~~~~ There’s so much I had to say~~~~~~~

     Some people have written these types of letters in their journals mainly because they never ever mean to send them. Some people though, want to make the experience more meaningful. So here are six tips to writing this type of letter and a final piece I call The Ritual of Writing and Release.

  1. Choose your paper, favorite pen and writing place.

  2. Find a comfortable place where you won’t be disturbed for a while.

  3. Decide how you’ll dispose of y our undeliverable letter. You could decide to shred, hide or burn it.

  4. Write when you’re ready.

5.  Include forgiving and forgiveness in your letter. Ask forgiveness and grant forgiveness even if you don’t feel like it.

  1. Include good memories and end on a positive note.

I’ve said it all – Now What??

Now you face a daunting task, do you shred, keep or??? The Ritual below may help.

Burning Letter Ritual

  • Take a fireproof bowl, your letter, a lighter or match and go outside. Read your letter out loud, read it as if you were talking directly to that person. Use your emotions, give voice and expression to everything you have written. Take time to feel your feelings, there is no rush, and the more energy and determination you give to this process the more powerful it becomes. When complete, hold the letter in your hands and say out loud: “I release this person and their energy from my life. I release them with gratitude and love for the universe who brings me healing.”  Tear your letter into quarters, and place it in the fire-proof bowl. Light it and let it burn. As you watch the flames, thank the element of fire which has burned your letter. Scatter the ashes remaining in the bowl on the ground, and thank the element of earth and the element of air for accepting and sweeping away the remnants of your letter. Return inside and wash out your fire-proof bowl. As you do this thank the element of water for washing away the dust and burned fragments left in the bowl. Now thank the universe, god, creator etc, and thank them for allowing you to release the negative energy into the universe, and to free yourself from its power. Ask the universe that this energy may be transformed to light and that it be a positive experience sharing healing powers with all – as we are all connected energetically, all healing work brings universal benefit.

The Letter Burning Ritual can be repeated as many time as you like about any person, situation or circumstance that causes you to experience negative feelings that you cannot on your own get clear of.

~Sallie

 

The Letter

Dear Fellow Journalers,

When I was much younger, if I wanted to share good news with someone I wrote a letter. To write a letter you needed nice stationery, a pen and a postage stamp. Now the preferred method of communication is via email, tweet, face-book message, Skype, and other methods I’ve never heard of.

The age-old problems remain however- how to start your message, how to communicate exactly what you want to convey and how to end  your message. Our teachers always used to say “Remember the 5 W’s” (who. what, when, where and why) and then apply them in the first paragraph.  For instance, can you finish the following:

Dear Grandma,

Thank you so much for my new book ___. It was very nice of you to think of me. I really liked the part about _____. We had a nice time at my party.———–

See what I mean? The end of the letter is also difficult. The traditional “Love” is over-used and Sincerely, Very Truly Yours sound so antiquated.

All those letters/notes/postcards almost always were received by the person we sent them to but sometimes you heard about the letter that “got lost in the mail.” All that “work” and your recipient never got the message! All this brings me to the theme of this month’s journal topic – the Unsent Letter. This letter is written but never intends to see the light of day. Next week we’ll explore this topic in depth.

~Sallie

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