Write A Letter

Write a letter to your younger self,
they urge: It’s cathartic.
Be kind, be supportive,
guide her gently toward better choices.
Fat chance she’d listen.
Pearls of wisdom, cautionary tales–she heard them all.
And what, precisely, to offer?
Don’t settle? Don’t worry? Stay out of the sun?
I wouldn’t listen to me either.
If I took another tack,
told her she was strong
and worthy, capable of anything,
she’d only shrug and look away.
Not for a minute would she have imagined
a soft landing in her sixties,
four-bed/two bath, a steadfast spouse.
In any case, who am I to interfere–
she got me this far, didn’t she?
Better to leave her hurtling
into plight and fervor and folly
so that she can show up here
and astonish me.
“See?” she would have said.

Published by

Jean Ryan

Jean Ryan, a native Vermonter, lives in Lillian, Alabama. Her stories and essays have appeared in a variety of journals and anthologies. She has also published a novel, LOST SISTER. Her short story collections, SURVIVAL SKILLS and LOVERS AND LONERS, are available online. STRANGE COMPANY, a collection of short nature essays, is available in paperback as well as digital and audio editions.

16 thoughts on “Write A Letter

  1. This is a priceless yuletide insight into that treacle form of sincerity that wafts of a dewy pep talk. Yeesh! The last line “See?” says it all! When I hear celebrities or news readers offer their pillowy, soft-spoken, sugar-laden, hushed in prayer, earnest blah-blah from their ‘future-self’ (?!) I cannot help but find their self reverence comical and embarrassing for them. We become who we are because of the discoveries we make along the way which include those dark moments in our lives; hell!, it’s often because of those dark moments that “astonish us both.” Brilliant. Thank you as always, Jean! XOXO

  2. I’m reading this while sipping on a glass of Lugana in Munich waiting for my dinner. “See” I say. Fantastic Jean. A testament to truth. I love “Write A Letter”. Thank you for putting in words so much.

  3. You certainly were spot on with this post. I hope it’s ok that I share with a few special friends. A couple of my very good friends now follow you per my recommendation and always truly appreciate your writings and the incredible art being created in Lillian by two exceptional friends. Wishing you both a peaceful and healthy Christmas and New Year. Much love, Mary

    Sent from my iPad


    1. Oh Mary. It’s always a thrill to hear from you. I so appreciate this note as well as your kind efforts on my behalf. I am happy that my poems and paintings resonate with you. You have a delightful aura, a magical way about you. I miss you very much.

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