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 on our injured faces would be almost
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 flip through it all, two youngsters, jockeying for position while covertly throwing elbows, 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,
With our new titles, our Canihavethats turned
into “C’mon, occupant” or “resident resident resident” being
beseeched under our breaths with more inner cosmic force than the worst Vegas slot machine addict ever known. Fingers, toes, legs and eyes were all crossed
to endear ourselves to the luck and mail gods of the universe who,
obviously, mandated the writing of "occupant" or "resident" on all junk mail.
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
I relate that embarrassing childhood story to
punctuate the power of the written word. As authors, we're 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 lots of websites that offer that opportunity to
anyone, not just writing professionals.
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
You can write anonymous love letters to people who are going through terrible tragedies.
Or, 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 during this time of thanks and giving that
the power of the written word distributed to the masses or to a single
person each create an impact in their own unique way. So if you’re
looking for a special project, and volunteering at a homeless shelter,
soup kitchen or food bank isn't 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
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