An Important Letter, Never Delivered

Without warning, the sand beneath my feet disappeared and the water became too deep for me to touch the sandy bottom. Suddenly, we had been transported much farther from the shore. It was all a blur as we tried desperately to dog paddle and swim back to where we had been. Now, I know that this was the worst thing we could have done. Our efforts were futile, and we continued to get further from my parents and the safety of the beach. We both started to tire, and then sink, then desperately try to get to the surface for a breath of air. At that moment, I became terrified that we might drown. It became obvious that I could not win this struggle with the lake for my young life. I was 9 years old, and Lee was 11.   

Book Fests Encourage Storytelling

I am so grateful that people still read real books and participate in book festivals in their communities. I recently participated in my first book festivals as a new author– one in Mankato, MN, the other in St. Paul. MN. There is a vibrant and collegial writing community in this state and wonderful support of writers by the public. At the Mankato sale, I was fortunate to share a table with author Rob Jung, and to be next to another seasoned writer, Eleanor Jane. Both were extremely generous in the sage advice they offered me as a new author. In between customer visits, I enjoyed learning about their experiences with writing and selling books.    It was a real treat talking with the folks roaming…

Letters Mingle Souls

The medieval poet, John Donne (above), said it best. “Sir, more than kisses, Letters mingle souls….”. In the private, quiet moments when our minds are freewheeling and our defenses are down, the pen becomes the perfect tool for translating our soul’s complex energies, thoughts, and emotions into words on paper. Letters are the vessel that capture our true, raw essence in a way that allows others to peer through the curtain and to see more of who we are at a soul level.   I am an introvert, yet I enjoy knowing and socializing with people. The key for me is keeping the size of the group of friends or relatives on the smaller size. I generally try to avoid larger gatherings, mostly because I…

Thank You for Your Letters, Vincent Van Gogh

I became acquainted with Vincent Van Gogh when I was 12 years old, and he became a reliable friend of a sort. I am a native of Chicagoland, growing up in a northwestern suburb of Chicago, about 30 miles from the city. Our town was easily and splendidly connected to Chicago’s city center by the Northwestern Railroad (now Metra) train line. This train system allowed us to easily toggle back and forth between the gritty, mesmerizing experiences of one of the world’s great cities, and a rather idyllic, peaceful small-town existence. We lived near downtown Palatine, which sprang up along the Chicago rail lines in the 1800’s. Walking to the train was a pleasant experience, including walking over Salt Creek, my elementary school playground, and…

Midwest Book Review

Please Write: Finding Joy and Meaning in the Soulful Art of Handwritten Letters makes a case for handwritten letters as an important source for communication even in a digital age, tapping personal experience, anecdotes, and the enthusiasm of avid fellow letter-writers to make its case. From why putting ink to page creates a different legacy and feel than a phone call or email to different kinds of writings that inspire not only connection, but art, Lynne M. Kolze reviews the history, methods, and purposes of effective letter-writing using a lively voice that will inspire readers to cultivate their own letter-writing skills and circles. Kolze makes a powerful case for choosing writing over dashing out an email: “Today, emails work well to convey one’s homesick feelings to…

No Muss, No Fuss. Letters are the Simplest Gifts of All

Clunky jewelry. Bad lawn art. Ugly sweaters. Unnecessary kitchen appliances. Vacuum cleaners. What do all these unrelated items have in common? Sadly, these are some of the “surprise” gifts that my friends’ husbands gave them for holidays, birthdays, and other special occasions. I would hear about them after the fact, when my friends had recovered from the initial disappointments. Even though it is the thought that counts, some would lament the fact that their lovers could not now or probably ever get it right. Their husbands simply had no idea at all how to pick out a special gift for them –not without very strong hints or detailed lists to go by. I have been luckier than this, as my husband has always (well, nearly…

Star Struck — Or Simply Grateful?

Believe me when I say that I am typically not one to follow the lives of famous people or to buy magazines about Hollywood stars. I do, however, take notice of and an interest in people who exemplify the best in us, who quietly model admirable qualities, who are honorable, and/or who seek to inspire us to be better and more compassionate people than we often are. If you have read my book, Please Write, you know that on rare occasions, I have been known to write handwritten letters of appreciation to people who I feel are true treasures in this world. Deciding who to write to is based on my own values and criteria, of course. I have only written to those who have…

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