The "Letters to..."Series
Some of my favorite books of all time are written as compilations of letters and journal entries written to a specific person or audience — even if that audience is the author himself, as with a diary:
- CS Lewis’s “The Screwtape Letters”
- Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple”
- Barbara Kingsolver’s “The Poisonwood Bible”
- Charles Spurgeon’s “Lectures to My Students” (okay, this one isn’t a compilation of letters, but it still fits)
- Anne Frank’s “The Diary of Anne Frank” (I hope she understands how important her journal has been, and has forgiven her father for publishing them after her death)
- Beatrice Sparks’s “Go Ask Alice”
What I love most about letters and journals is their transparency. Even if the writer hides or downplays certain emotions, thoughts or events, a letter or journal entry is far more personal than any other form of media. Letters and journal entries provide a look into someone’s soul, into their heart, in a way I don’t believe any other writing format does. (Well, except song lyrics, maybe.)
We get to “see” people as they are in a very specific window of time, and enter into their private world.
Some might say I’m nosy. But — and here’s an example of an author’s bias — I’m not nosy. At least I don’t believe I am. (Is a therapist nosy? A doctor? A counselor? A parent? A pastor? Perhaps?)
My interest in seeing into someone’s private world is to know them on a much deeper level than what they present to the world. I want to know who they are when no one is looking. Not for judgment. But for understanding.
Thankfully, most of us know better than to present our full, true selves to the world with all our closeted skeletons, inappropriate or ignorant thoughts and unpredictable or even nasty moods. And we are all grateful for that. The last thing we need is to have people running around insisting we listen to, discuss and approve their every opinion or behavior.
On the other hand, there is much wisdom to be learned from those who’ve gone through the same things we’re going through — even if we don’t necessarily like those people.
That brings me to this series and the reason behind it.
What you will read on the following pages are letters and journal entries written by various characters and people to specific audiences, and about all manner of topics, opinions and events. Some of these letters or journal entries may offend you. Some may encourage you. Some may make you angry. Some may vindicate you. Some may bring up strong or even buried emotions. And some may make you smile.
My hope is that with each letter or journal entry, you will be enlightened in some way. Perhaps you will learn something about yourself, or gather insight into something you may not fully understand, or even see things from a different perspective or experience.
I won’t tell you which of the writers and audiences are fictional, but I will say this: each and every one of these letters and journal entries is “true” in some way. And that truth may simply be an intimate peek into the heart and soul of the writer, whomever he or she is, fictional or not.
I hope you will find something here to take with you.