Here is the article that didn't make the cut for this newsletter. It felt a little too didactic coming from the neophyte. (Whoo hoo! triple word score for me!) So, without further ado, here it is.
When we were young, my older brother and I loved to get mail. I can remember races to the death involving so much illegal tackling and shirt holding that we would have been banned from the NFL for life. Just to see if we got any mail. You can imagine the mountain of mail a six and nine year old child would get on a normal business day. So after the winner of the battle royale, bloodied and bruised and walking with a severe limp, would bring the mail to dear old Mom, the disappointment would be almost comical. But still we loved to get mail. So much so, that we would fight over any junk mail that would be shuffled in with the bills, correspondence and catalogs. As Mom would sort through, two youngsters, at every piece of mail would ask, “Can I have that?” Until a chorus of Canihavethat?Canihavethat?Canihavethats echoed after even the slightest twitch of her fingers. So, necessity being the mother of invention, and my mom the most inventive of them all, in her infinite wisdom decreed that forever forward I would be known as Occupant and my brother, Resident.
With our new titles, our Canihavethats turned into “C’mon, occupant” or “resident resident resident” prayerfully beseeching under our breaths. Fingers, toes, legs and eyes all crossed to endear ourselves to the luck and mail gods in the universe who mandated the writing of occupant or resident on all junk mail. Hardened gamblers at the racetrack had nothing on us. The anticipation as our eyes watched Mom’s every movement while she flipped through the stack. The gleeful dances of the one who got lucky. The sick disappointment of the one who walked away empty handed. To live or die at the whim of companies’ advertising department, only to start it all over the next day.
I relate that embarrassing childhood story to punctuate the power of the written word. As authors, we are already well aware of that power and strive to wield it as we create our stories. But more specifically, I refer to the power of a letter. The written word purposefully given to another.
Authors use their time and talent to entertain and inform the masses. They can also use those same skills to lift the spirit, boost morale and deliver hope to another person. There are many websites that offer that opportunity to anyone, not just writing professionals.
Anysoldier.com, Soldiersangels.org, uso.org, letterstosoldiers.org, are all organizations that provide addresses for you to write a soldier stationed in a combat zone. Saying thank you, showing your appreciation, or just a friendly hello are all powerful ways for authors to use their gifts.
If you’re brave enough, you can even write an inmate. WriteAPrisoner.com will set you up with a male or female inmate to become pen pals with.
Just a little reminder that the power of the written word distributed to the masses or to a single person can create an impact each in its own unique way. So if you’re looking for a special project, and volunteering at a homeless shelter, a soup kitchen or food bank is not up your alley, here is a way in which you can make a difference without even having to leave your own home. And who knows, you just may inspire a gleeful victory dance from the recipient.
I think I made the right choice by submitting the sea monkey article instead. I'll post that one in its entirety for my adoring silent lurkers after the newsletter is released. Have a good one, and may all your sea monkeys be the invisible kind.