Dear Reader: An Open Letter

Dear Reader,

The essay you are about to read is about me. It is about my own personal experiences and my own observations. Maybe you know me in real life. But likely, I am a stranger to you, a name on a screen attached to an article—an article to which you may relate, or may take offense.

If you know me, you know that I typically write humorous essays filled with hyperbole, exaggerated for effect and a laugh. I like to laugh; I suspect some of you do, too. If you don’t know me, maybe you take my sarcasm literally.

I promise you, I would never actually pluck my eyes out with a spoon and stab myself in the ears with a pencil to avoid sitting through another episode of Caillou. I am very much aware that it would make me a “selfish mother” never to be able to see my children’s faces or hear their voices again by purposely impaling myself in an attempt to avoid a whiny little cartoon character. It is truly not necessary for you to waste my time, and yours (but mostly mine) by chiding me for my literary embellishments.

dearreader

I am sure that not knowing me and having a sense of anonymity makes it easier for you to dissect my every word, to criticize me or call me names from behind your computer screen. Maybe knowing me isn’t any easier. Perhaps you think that I am somehow making a personal gibe about you. I assure you that I am not.

I am a writer, and my professional work goes through an editor who has the authority to make changes for length or grammar. The deletion of quotation marks or italics can greatly alter the way you perceive my tone and inflection. The replacement of one word has the power to give my piece a completely different feel. Unfortunately, many personal essayists have little to no control over the editing process. I ask you to take for granted that what I write is not meant to offend, but to express my own feelings, thoughts, doubts, and worries. Writing, like all art, is at the mercy of interpretation.

Dear reader, consider being less cynical. Embrace the wisdom, humor, sarcasm, strength and courage of the writers before you. Be encouraging and supportive, or be still and be quiet. Be inspired to write and share your own story! I, for one, would love to hear it—and I promise to only leave positivity in the comments.

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