Back to the Future: An Open Letter to My Daughter

In response to today’s Daily Prompt, the first person that came to my mind, naturally, was my daughter.  Maybe it’s not the most original concept, as far as who would be the recipient of a letter to the future, but that doesn’t make it any less the truth– so much so, in fact, that it’s already occurred to me.

When my daughter was about 4 months old, I decided to start a journal, in the form of letters addressed to her.  Whenever she did something new, hit some landmark in her development, or just did something to make me smile, I’d add an entry to the journal.  It was a way to sort out my thoughts and often overwhelming feelings of love (and consequent worry) for her. It is also sort of written scrap book, and a way to let her know I love her in the event that anything should ever happen to me.

I’m under no illusions that I’ll live forever, but the thought of leaving her before I’ve had a chance to see her grow up, before I’m ready to go, is really scary.  I want to be able to be there for her, for all the trials and tribulations (if you’ll excuse the cliche) of growing up– skinned knees and school plays, boy troubles and sharing her dreams.  I want to be not only her mother, but her confidant, and her friend.  But if something should happen to me, if I should be in a car accident or fall terminally ill, there are a few major things I want her to know:

Dearest Daughter,

There are so many things I want to tell you, to teach you, and to share with you.  Hopefully there will be time to do them all, but if for some reason I can’t be there to tell you these things in person, there are just a few things I want you to know.  Some of these things might seem little, but I think they are important nonetheless.

–Always send thank you notes.  It’s good manners, but more importantly, it lets people know you appreciate them.

–Be kind to animals.  How you treat animals is a good indicator of how you will treat people.  Also, animals are innocent and a gift, and it’s our job to protect them.

–Honesty is important.  There is almost never a good enough reason to lie to someone you care about.  Be honest with yourself as well.

–Value your good friends.  You may have a lot of friends, but true friends that are always there for you are rare and something to be treasured.

–Nature is beautiful.  Take time to stop and appreciate it.

–Hold the door for others.

–Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

–Be respectful to your elders, but never be afraid to stand up for yourself.

–Stand up for yourself, and those who can’t stand up for themselves.

–The world can be scary and people can be mean; always be vigilant and protect yourself.

–Know when to say “I’m sorry.”

–Cherish books and music.  They can open doors to magical places and become part of your soul.

–Love unconditionally.

–Love unconditionally, but don’t ever let anyone treat you badly.

And most importantly, know that I love you.  I’ve loved you since before you were born.  I love you more than anything.  Your father loves you more than anything.  We love you no matter what you do, who you decide to love, where you go, where we go…  We love you now and forever.

Love,
Mama

(photo taken by Cynthia Gemmill)

(photo taken by Cynthia Gemmill)

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DP: The House that Writing Built

“Writing Room,” hell!  If I find a genie to grant me a wish, I’m gonna have that motherfucker build me a whole house!

It would be in a remote location in the middle of nature somewhere.  Rustic, inviting, inspiring.  It’d look something like this:

Open air and a fire place? I think, yes!

Open air and a fire place? I think, yes!

The “veranda” (sounds much more stylish and conducive to writing than “porch”) would be the perfect place for temperate weather and chain smoking which I love to do when I write or read.  When I used to smoke more heavily, and indoors, my poor keyboard was littered with ashes from cigarettes I forgot to ash as I pattered away at the keys.

Inside would be cozy, but spacious, and well-stocked with wine.  And a hot tub.  Of  course there’d be a hot tub.  Writing is strenuous work.

genie

Oh shit, oh shit! nevermind!

Oh shit, oh shit! Nevermind!

DP: The Man in Black Fled Across the Desert…

 "The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed."

“The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.”

Maybe it’s no “Call me Ishmael,” but the above sentence starts the beginning of an epic journey (for once, the term “epic,” applied appropriately, and not uttered from the mouth of an emo teenage dirtbag,) the tale of Roland of Deschain’s journey towards the Dark Tower.

I wouldn’t say the aptly named first book/novella, The Gunslinger, was my favorite of the seven (now eightDark Tower series.  In fact, I have a hard time separating the novels in my mind, let alone choosing a favorite.  This series transported me in the way any good novel should, but through the series, I also developed a deep attachment to most of the characters, including the non-human ones (Oy! Oy!)

Oy the billybumbler

Oy the billybumbler

As an added bonus, King’s magnum opus included both oblique and more obvious references to at least a dozen of his other former novels, such as The Stand, It, and Eyes of the Dragon, as well as some of his short stories (Little Sisters of Eluria and Everything’s Eventual.)  Some of the references are small, almost name drops, while others manage to reintroduce interesting characters from previous novels.  You get answers to questions, and back-story to characters and events that you never knew existed.  While the length of the series may seem daunting at first, by the last page you’re mourning the end of the story and wishing there was more.   A story that effects you emotionally and whose characters you come to love  is not as common as you might think, but that is what the Dark Tower series represents for me, everything that is good about reading!