An Open Letter to My Friends Who are Seniors

The title sounds disgustingly like an OdysseyOnline article, and I’m mad at myself for writing it. What happened to revamping your blog as a space for reviewing books/penning letters to your imaginary, future grandson named Aglet? Hmmm, Jo?

Well, I guess I started thinking about open letters and how popular they are, and from there it went to what would write in an open letter, if I ever wrote one, and so now I’m writing one. If you want the short (and musical) gist of what’s about to be written here, go listen to Jim Croce’s “I’ll Have to Say I Love You in a Song.”

I’ll even provide the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6Vn17S37_Y

The truth is, I hate open letters, and, as much as I sometimes pretend I have no pet peeves, sites like the Odyssey bother me. I’ll click on some article written by some well-meaning sorority girl, and I (a). get mad at myself for having read it and (b). question the sanity of my generation. I question the sanity of me, because I’m the one who clicked on the article in the first place.

They draw me in, somehow, with their relevant topics that scream, hey–that happened to you too the other day, you thought this (or more often, actually: who does that? No one thinks that way:/) 

ugh. This was not supposed to be a rant against the Odyssey/cool trendy websites connected with social media. There’s some stuff on there, I suppose, that people write that is worthwhile, and I would be lying if I denied the appeal of open letters.

On some level, I guess I see the title “Open Letter to…” and instinct kicks in: I click. WHY?

American Heritage Dictionary’s definition looks like this:

open letter

n.

A published letter on a subject of general interest, addressed to a person but intended for general readership.
I think it may be in our nature to want to know what others really think, for one, and an open letter promises to tell us. Granted, it’s not speaking to us, really, but by identifying with the writer’s thoughts, we feel like we’ve expressed something we always yearned to just say, but couldn’t, for one reason or another. We feel in some way satisfied, because here the writer has finally, finally gotten past their fear and just said what she needed to say.
Except she hasn’t, really. Not really. All the writer has done is express her thoughts on a (usually personal) subject–which is a valid thing to do–and make it public. Sort of public.
Posting things to the internet is often a cop-out, a way of sort-of addressing things without having to resolve things in person. That’s what I’ve experienced, anyway. For some writers–say, someone addressing an abusive person–that’s the closest thing to resolution the writer is likely to get, and so in that case, fantastic. Write all the open letters you want.
I’m mainly talking to me, because I’m about to write a letter to dear friends, and I cannot for the life of me manage to tell them, in person, what I want them to know. I just want them to know it, magically. I could write them all individual notes. But that terrifies me. So here’s a solution: how about I write a so-called open letter, where I’m clearly talking to them, but that anyone might read. That way, I can have expressed myself without risking anything. If they read it, they read it, and if they don’t, then at least I tried.
Freshman year, I wrote this:
“I wish people saw the spontaneous part of me. Even though my purpose in coming [to the gazebo] is to be private about such actions, I wish someone I loved would stumble upon me dancing barefoot among the spring beauties. If they found me like that, it would solve my problems of being too shy to dance in their presence. How do you tell someone about a deep aspect to yourself, except by showing them? Simply saying ‘I love dancing barefoot in springtime’ doesn’t effect the powerful joy that inspires the action. Some things shouldn’t be uttered too much—actually saying the sentence makes it feel trite, forced—like you’re trying to impress.”

It rings just as true to me now as it felt then.

So here goes.

Hey (friends),

I love you so much that I can’t tell you I love you. I don’t know how to tell you, cause you’ll think I’m weird and I don’t know—you probably won’t, but it’s in my head that you’ll stop being my friend. So that’s why I don’t say the words, because somehow “Love ya” is easy, but it doesn’t mean “I love you.” So I don’t say either. It’s kind of pathetic. 

I miss you all already. You’re all going off on new, grand adventures and I want to see what happens. I want to see you do incredible things, and not-so-incredible things, and some downright mundane things. I want to be part of everyone’s adventures. I’ve got adventure-envy. 

Please don’t leave me.

Or, if you have to go, which I know you do, make it worth your while. Make your life worth the while, won’t you? Follow God, and love people, and be fearless and intrepid and humble and please love very deeply. And Philippians 2–all of that. Just know that I’m thankful God’s let me be part of your life for a while.

I’m so glad I know you.

There’s my open letter, and now that it’s there, I think how much better it would have been to just say what I wanted to say, in person, to the actual person. What are we so afraid of?

I encourage you, if you’re like me and you’re constantly storing up things (especially kind things) that you wish you could just tell people–I encourage you to consider just telling them. Don’t be afraid to encourage people. Don’t be ashamed of loving people. Love people.

Also, leave comments! If you think I’m too hard on OdysseyOnline or completely wrong about open letters or really whatever, tell me:) As always, thanks for reading.

 

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2016 Resolution(s)

So I thought, “Alrighty, here’s a cute little New Year’s resolution: I’ll be a better blogger.” Which turns out to mean “Alrighty, time to figure out what in the heck I’m doing with a blog in the first place.” This resolution, like most resolutions, turns out to be neither little nor cute.

On the technical side, I don’t know what I’m doing. I have no idea how to add a category (if that is what I ought to do), and I don’t think I really know what a widget is. And I think I came close to deleting the whole site on accident. So I’m working on that. Any technical advice would be appreciated:)

On the content side, I don’t really know what I’m doing either. I want to change something, though. Right now I feel like I just pour out words concerning whatever subject happens to be in my head, without concern for engaging others.  And that’s not terrible–it’s why I started this thing in the first place–to get the thoughts out of my head. But I’ve been finding myself wanting to engage with other people through this thing, rather than come across as saying, “here are my thoughts, take them or leave them.” That means, I think, making it easier for people to respond, if they want to. So, changing the set-up, and maybe even the content.

My reasoning is not because I want scads of followers all of a sudden. If you read me, then thanks. If you don’t, that’s fine. Some of the stuff I write feels personal as I write it–hopefully, it doesn’t come across too much that way; it’s “Ramblings of a Girl Named Jo,” not “Confessions of a Girl Named Jo.” I love being honest through writing, and blogging is a really cool platform whereby a quieter kid, who doesn’t like to interrupt, can say something and the ones who need to hear will hear, and the ones who don’t, won’t.

So, yes, thank you if you’re reading me, and if you have been reading me. The encouragement I’ve received from this project has meant a great deal to me, especially in my pursuit of writing.

Here’s where I need your help: I need suggestions for what to write about. What have you been thinking of, that I could ramble about a little, and then we can compare ramblings? When I finally figure out the whole “categories” thing, what should I add? So far, I have a grand total of one idea: it’s going to be a collection of letters to my imaginary grandson named Aglet.

….I’m hoping it will be more interesting than it sounds–just wait and see.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, please feel welcome to comment on this thing. I’m pretty certain there’s some button you can press to sign in as a guest and say “this is TERRIBLE, because of this and this and this” or “This is WONDERFUL–thanks for writing it.” Or something in between:)

My New Year’s Resolution? To actually reply, if you comment. To engage with other peoples’ thoughts, and make these ramblings mean something.

Thanks for reading.