A letter from my future self.
Date: January 1, 2014
One year ago I issued you a challenge and I’m writing to check on your progress. The first thing I wanted you to do was the most important. Be bold. You and I both know the reasons behind your insecurity and shyness. You are 40 years old and it was time to let go and forgive the people who hurt you, but more importantly to forgive yourself. You have accomplished so much in your life: being a caregiver, husband, single parent, a writer, law enforcer, brother and son. It was time to concentrate on making yourself happy. I pray that you have overcome those obstacles and embraced your true nature. God put you on this earth to help people. Your testimony is amazing and should be shared with the world. Someone needs your story to lead them down their own path to redemption and healing.
What were you afraid of? After everything you’ve been through in life, what does a rejection letter mean? It doesn’t define you. Did you write those stories that kept you up at night? Did you send those query letters every week? Did you write everyday? After all, you are a writer. You have been a writer since the day you were born. Telling you not to write would be like telling the rain to stop falling from the sky. Have you finished that romance novel? I think it was some of your best work. How are the short stories coming? The reason you published PAVED WITH GOOD INTENTIONS was to purge the writing of the past and stop relying on who you were then. In life as well as your writing, you should be completely out of your comfort zone by now.
I also challenged you to be a student as well as a teacher. Are you reading at least one book a week? I don’t want to hear anything about not having the time. Have you picked a school to continue your education? The MFA program at The University of Montana looked very promising. It was low residency and geared just for you. If you haven’t, follow up – now. You need to continue adding tools to your toolbox. You also talked about starting a book club at the local juvenile detention facilities. Helping these young people foster a love of reading and maybe even encouraging them to express themselves with writing is a job tailor made for you.
In closing, no matter what you accomplished or didn’t, I am proud of you. Continue to live your dream and be an example to others. You’ve come a long way over the past year. Don’t let anyone tell you different.