27 Letters More

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I have been writing letters all week.  Letters of grit and loss and letters of longing.  It has opened me and emptied me and left me feeling tender and in awe.

As Outlaw Letters comes to a close, I have so many more letters to write.  Maybe you do too.

So here’s a list of 27 letters you might want need to write.

  1. A letter to your heart (or your feet or your hands)
  2. A letter to the ancestor you never met
  3. A letter to the smell of summer
  4. A letter to the character in the book you adore
  5. A letter to the competition
  6. A letter to your fourth grade teacher (or 5th or 9th)
  7. A letter to your muse
  8. A letter to the place that has a piece of your heart
  9. A letter that doesn’t want to be written
  10. A letter that answers a letter you received
  11. A valentine to your love
  12. A letter to the work you left
  13. A letter to your favorite song
  14. A letter to the one who named you
  15. A letter to a scar
  16. A letter to 2025
  17. A letter to someone you crush on
  18. A letter to a friend you found–or who found you
  19. A letter to the one who cracked you wide open
  20. A letter to the one who taught you to write
  21. A letter to the one who taught you to roar
  22. A letter to your sixteen year old self
  23. A letter to the one who taught you to listen
  24. A letter to the one who taught you to care
  25. A letter to the one who taught you to make out
  26. A letter to betrayal
  27. A letter to your next iteration

So, go write.  I will too.

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Boots, Always Boots

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It was the middle of a work trip.  I was in the middle of a hotel room.

And in the middle of the deck, I pulled this card.  The boots card.

It beckoned, ‘boot up.  Embody your muse.  Wear the bangles.  Dress to your heart’s desire.’

I hesitated.  Did I dare?  Did I dare to show up fully me in the middle of a conference room in the middle of a sea of professionals?

Did I dare?

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My spirit guide said, ‘fuckyeah.

I pulled on the jeans, the ones I used all my stash to buy, the ones that feel like butter on my legs.  I pulled on the boots, the ones that go just above my knees, all shiny and bold.  I pulled on the bracelets and dabbed the essential oil and rubbed the curl cream in my hair.

Fuckyeah.  Let’s do this.

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If you want a set of your own Provisions cards, you can order them here.

An Unfinished Letter to Myself at 16

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But she did look back, and I love her for that because it was so human.

Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut

Sweetheart,

You, my love, are in for a wild adventure.

What you don’t know now is that the road will not be easy.

That linear path everyone thinks you’ll take when they vote you most likely to succeed from the Class of 1993? It takes a tailspin into the woods.  

That friend who showed up at your door in seventh grade? He will die in a car crash when you are 20 and it will rock your world so hard that you will get lost in whiskey shots and late nights. But those will also be the days you find your way back to the page and fall in love with philosophy class and listen to Ani Difranco and Liz Phair on repeat. You will be finding your spirit’s pulse. And it will drive you on.

Speaking of drives? You will drive across the country twice and nearly get lost in mountains and campfires and open skies.

You will let yourself study what you love and trust that it will get you someplace. Most days, you will be right. The things you thought were important—the law degree, the move to the big city, the bank—aren’t.

You come to know how hard you mom worked each day; and you love her even more now than you did then. Your Dad, too. Your sister still has your back, even though she is miles away today instead of across the room.

Not too long from now you will befriend food. Donuts and French fries, even. Then meatloaf and artichokes and soup that takes all of Sunday to simmer on the stove. You learn to listen to your body, to know what it wants, and to honor that. You learn to savor.

All those feelings? Oh sweetheart. They are you and they are beautiful. They make you the most tender of story catchers. What feels like too much now becomes your greatest strength.

He will never, ever come back. Know this. Let it go, burn the letters, and know that he taught you how to love.   And that, in itself, is enough.

You’ll have regrets—not going to New York with them on New Year’s, for one—but not loving him or having them.

You will find a love so gentle and true that it still amazes you. You will write your vows and have two beautiful, soul-stretching kids. You will have a son who is as sensitive as you and can look straight into your heart. You will have a daughter whose joy reminds you that life is for the living.

You will give birth at home and the midwife won’t make it in time. This will teach you that you have a warrior woman inside that you had never accessed. Listen to her more.

You will sit with women who have bruises and scars and stories so gruesome to tell, that some days you will want to get in your car and drive far away. But you don’t. You take those stories and let them shape you. They soak in your bones and swim through your blood. You learn that you are them and they are you and we are all in this life together.

You have forgotten how to dance. And how to run. And maybe even draw. And you still don’t have a tattoo.  But you’ve learned to say fuck yeah and to wear cowboy boots and how to say the hard things.

There will be moments. And days that make you ache. But you are a moment hunter and have lifetimes of fierce inside you. Don’t be deterred.

There is so much more to say but for now know that what you are living will serve you soon. Nothing is ever wasted. Trust me on this. And go easy.

With so much love,

Me

 

Let’s Free the Words

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What are the letters that you need to write?

What are the words that you are ready to shed? 

He wrote a letter in October 1945.  Just a few days after he returned from the War.  Finally home to his “two babies,” my Grandma and aunt.  This was a letter to his best buddy still overseas.  A six page letter found in an attic in Ohio long after both had passed on.  A letter tucked away and saved.

 

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My Grandpa was a mechanic.  A Methodist.  A Hoosier.  A father and husband.  He was not a letter writer.  And I think that’s the magic in these six pages.  After all the horrors of war and the agony of being abroad, after all the unforgettable stories that passed between them, this is a letter about living.  It was the letter that needed to be written.

What are the letters that you need to write?  What are the words that you are ready to shed?  Let’s free the words.

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What it is:  This is a free course by email, a love missile from me to you.  Sign up and I’ll send you a letter writing prompt each day of the course.  Five prompts.  Five letters.

Why Outlaw Letters?  Because these will be no ordinary letters.  They will be the letters you didn’t know you still carry, the ones that want to escape.  Wild and reckless and surly drunk on freedom.

You get to write as much or as little as you want.  You can keep these letters tucked inside your journal, scribbled on a napkin in your satchel, or posted on your blog.  You can keep these letters close to your heart–or mailed across the country to the person who needs to read them most.

When:  January 26-30th

What you need:  Your favorite writing supplies

Who this is for:  This free course is for you if you have words that want to be written.  Words you are ready to lay down.  Stories that need to spill.  This course is for you if you are curious about the letters inside of you.

Sign up here.   

You will receive your first email on January 25th, on the eve of Outlaw Letters!

the Skillet Card

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It was a morning I just couldn’t shake the funk.  I was restless and unmoored.

Turning to the deck, I pulled this card.  The one that reads, flip the pancakes, make the stew, use the cloth napkins.  This is the card that invites savoring and slowing and steeping in the sensual.  This is the card that asks, what does your body crave?

I didn’t want this card.  I didn’t want to slow or cook or savor.  But I let it in.  The words of this card became a balm for my day.

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I filled my Nalgene bottle with cranberry water and drank until my thirst was gone.  I spread the thick creamy comforter over my legs and cuddled on the couch.  I dabbed rose oil on my wrists and lit my soy candle.  I read more of the Soul of Money.  I let the chili bubble on the stove and ate a piece of chocolate cake that Grandma made.  I listened to their voices down the hall.  I stepped outside to take a quick photo of the sunset.  I soaked it all in.

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And when evening fell, the words that came uninvited, but certainly inspired from all this medicine, were this:  sacred expansion.

And so it is.  Sacred expansion.  Movement forward.  Wisdom brewing.  In the steeping and the slowing and the savoring.

If you are interested in more and want a deck of your own, you can order right here.