categories: Cocktail Hour
This next post from the ladies at the Maine Correctional Center “Meet the Authors” class came from the following prompt: Write a letter to a person–living or dead, fictional or real–who, for one reason or other, is no longer available to you. Karla wrote to her younger self, a poignant piece filled with both regret and hope. It’s a letter many of us could have written to our younger selves, whether our older selves are in prison or in the corner office on the 100th floor. [MW]
DEAR KARLA, by Karla
Dear Karla at 15,
Listen to your parents.
Now, you may think you’re way too cool and you don’t need them; but when you’re 25, all you’ll want is your mommy and daddy and all their advice. A shoulder to cry on when things get scary.
The world is terrifying, so be careful. Study hard and follow your dreams. Do what you love; you get only once chance, so use it wisely. Make something of yourself.
Don’t take life for granted; you never know when time will run out. Do not become bitter or mean. Remember to laugh as much as you can because it’s good for the soul.
Do not mess with drugs. They will not only ruin your life, but will destroy your family’s life even more, as they sit back and watch you slowly die, knowing they can do nothing for you. And you will have to stand by and watch, while all they do is cry.
Make sure you know that if you become the person you are starting to become, you’ll live in hell for a long time, and hell is lonely. You will become an awful, pitiful person, and when you finally hit bottom you’ll realize all the years–so easily destroyed–that you can never get back. When you finally decide to change, you’ll have to work extremely hard to prove yourself.
Know that you will meet some amazing people along the way. Learn from them. Know that you are strong, much stronger than when you started. Know when you are starting to fail, and correct it. I hope you will take my advice, because it will save you from what your life has become.
“You are free to choose, but you are not free from the consequence of your choice.” — Anonymous
“I am not concerned that you have fallen; I am concerned that you will rise.” — Lincoln
[Today’s post is the third from a group of women inmates whom I work with in a program called “Meet the Authors.” (They don’t have internet access, but your comments will get back to them, through me, after being vetted through the chain of command.) The program runs in 12-week rounds, two hours per week, with a different group of students for each round, always with a few repeaters. We read the work of Maine women writers, who come to discuss their work and offer a writing exercise in their respective genres. The women then write short pieces, using prompts from me or the guest writers, and revise them according to feedback from the group.