Writing: A Chance to Vent

Thursday, June 28, 2018
I got a pleasant surprise a week ago. An email began, "Congratulations!" and after reading it, I discovered a letter I had submitted for an upcoming anthology Letters Never Meant to Be Read (vol. III) has been accepted.

This is the cover for the previous collection.
The new cover hasn't been revealed yet...
My letter is to an ex from almost forty years ago. It's scathing. The venom drips from every line.

Time and time again, I hear how much better people feel after they write about a difficult or unpleasant experience. Natalie Goldberg has said, "Writers live life twice," which means writers get to rewrite life. As they write about an experience, they can heal. They can come up with a better ending. They can be the voice for others who've had similar experiences.

This summer I've worked with teachers of writing. Many of them know they're able to teach their students how to write... and yet they don't think of themselves as writers. The class is an intense one. It's six graduate hours, it's only four weeks long, so it's every day, all day. And because we spend all that time together, we build a strong-knit community... in a short period of time. And, in a month, they start to realize how strong and skilled they are as writers.

When I shared my letter aloud with the teacher-writers, I actually shed tears. Even though those feelings had been buried for almost four decades, the pain was still there. During the course of the class we've cried many times, along with lots of laughing.

Marc Crepaux is working on another volume of Letters Never Meant to Be Read. They're looking for submissions for volume 4. Their call-out is ongoing. This could be the chance to thank someone, to mourn someone, to ream someone.

What do you need to vent? What do you need to unload? Write a letter... and live life twice. 

Sioux is a teacher, a writer, a dog rescuer, a grammy, a mother and a wife. In the summer she catches up on some of her reading. If you'd like to read more of her musings, check out her blog.


Angela Mackintosh said...

That's awesome, Sioux! Congratulations! I remember Nicole posting about this call for submissions on the Butt Kickers group. Oh man, I would love to read that letter. For it to make you cry, it must've been something you needed to get out. I bet it made your fellow teachers tear up too. Those are the best kinds of pieces! Now I want to write one to an ex. To ream him, as you put it. ;) I'm curious about the other authors (I think one of WOW's Facebook followers mentioned she was accepted) and the revenue share...keep us updated!

Margo Dill said...

Congrats on the acceptance! How exciting. I have heard time and again how important it is to write letters like this, even if they are never read. I am interested to read this book when it comes out.

Mary Horner said...

This sounds like a great anthology. Congratulations! I would love to read your letter, it must be very powerful to bring back such strong emotions.

Renee Roberson said...

Oh, man, I have some letters I need to write, too! Congrats on the acceptance--I can't wait to read the piece! I'm glad you were able to vent in such a constructive way.

Honestly, the story I wrote about relationship abuse for the WNBA writing contest was my way of passive-aggressively venting to the boyfriend who kept me from enjoying my senior year of high school and freshman year of college. Writing really does help us work through these things, even if it takes many, many years.

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