Friday, May 22, 2020

#143 / I'm Gonna Sit Right Down...

... and write myself a letter!
Click on the video link to hear Billy Williams sing a song that I think I heard my Dad and Mom sing, back when I was still a kid. There have been a lot of different artists who have covered the song, way beyond Philips and Alma Patton. That even includes Paul McCartney. You can do an internet search and find a lot more links.

As far as I am concerned, this song ought to be listed as an "oldie but goodie," though it doesn't seem to have made a 35-song "oldies but goodies" list published in 2017 by the Odyssey website, or a more recent 30-song list published by Spotify. Despite what musical authorities may say, by way of identifying "oldies but goodies," my parents' endorsement is enough for me!

What prompts this blog post, however, is not this song itself, and its romantic conceit, but something completely different. I love the song, but I would like to draw your attention to another "write yourself a letter" idea. 

On Sunday, January 26, 2020, The New York Times Book Review included an essay by novelist Ann Napolitano, entitled, "Dear Me." Here's the story.

When Napolitano was fourteen years old, she sat right down and wrote herself a letter, but that letter was dated and sealed, and was to be opened only in ten-years' time. Napolitano did wait for it, too, so she was twenty-four when she read that letter from the past.

After having read the letter she wrote to herself at fourteen, the twenty-four year old Napolitano wrote another letter to herself, to be opened when she reached the age of thirty-four. At thirty-four, she did it again, and she did the same at forty-four, too. That last letter has yet to be read, since Napolitano has not yet reached her fifty-fourth birthday. 

I was quite struck by this exercise. I think Napolitano's essay is worth reading - and particularly by my younger friends. 

If Socrates was right in claiming that "the unexamined life is not worth living," then this "sit right down and write yourself a letter" idea can be one way to help you discover just how worthwhile your life has really been, and is.

That is always something good to know!

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