Monday, August 31, 2015

Dear DEAR Teen Me

As JoAnn shared in her Friday post, in this current series my fellow Teaching Authors and I are writing to our younger selves, inspired by the authors’ letters of the Dear Teen Me project.

At first, this letter-writing idea grabbed me.  For years I’ve tasked my writers to pen all sorts of letters – to their future selves to envision their journeys, to their characters to learn their stories more fully, to the author of the book that made them a Reader, to the author whose writing changed their lives.  I also believe in writing Thank You notes, in haiku or not. 

But then Second Thoughts took center stage, overwhelming me and holding me back.
Let’s see….
I could say….
No way!

So I considered sharing Jake Wizner’s new Stenhouse book WORTH WRITING ABOUT – EXPLORING MEMOIR WITH ADOLESCENTS.
Or Carolyn Mackler’s September-released Harper Teen YA novel INFINITE IN BETWEEN, in which “five ninth graders write letters to their future selves, promising to reunite on graduation day and read them together.”
Or even reviewing DEAR TEEN ME which gathered over 70 letters noted YA authors wrote their teenaged selves.

And then I saw my badge from my 50th High School Reunion (!) and I knew just what I wanted to tell that Earnest, Smiling, Tenacious, Hopeful, Enthusiastic and Resourceful about-to-enter-college voted “Likely to Succeed” Teacher-Writer Wannabe – the one (I've since surprisingly learned) her fellow classmates viewed as confident, even though she knew “Self-UNassured” was the more appropriate and telling S and that her metaphorical non-stop paddling feet beneath the water’s surface belied the appearance of smooth and happy sailing.

I wanted to riff on borrowed words from Dennis Palumbo’s WRITING FROM THE INSIDE OUT to tell her what I've spent a lifetime learning.  Palumbo wants the writer to know, “…you  - everything you are, all your feelings, hopes and dreads, fears and fantasies – you are enough.

Here’s my variation and Dear Teen Me letter.

Dear Teen Me:

As your Life unfolds, no matter the circumstance and the verb 
you choose/need/desire to undertake - to love, befriend, embrace
or honor, achieve, create, realize or become, confront, rebound,
overcome, triumph, I absolutely assure you:
you are MORE than enough!”

Really and truly. 


Esther Chairnoff Hershenhorn


Carmela Martino said...

So glad you found just the perfect message to your former self, Esther!

mary ann rodman said...

Esther...You can send me your Teen Me post for Me, Now!!! Its great.