A letter from me, at 10 years old
I got the most amazing and wonderful package in the mail today. It was from my childhood friend Kate (who I’m still friends with). Her mom moved and there were some boxes of Kate’s things, and in one of those boxes was a letter. A letter from me, to Kate, when I was 10. It wasn’t a regular letter. Not me asking Kate how she was at camp or anything like that.
It was a letter where I was a librarian. And, in many ways, a writer (if we’re defining writer as “someone who makes stuff up, and then writes it down”).
If I ever need to write a scene where someone receives a letter from their 10-year-old self, I will know how to make them act: It made me say, “Oh my god” repeatedly, made me cry, and felt like a large tube of black construction paper had been placed around me. I saw nothing but the letter for a few minutes, and I felt eerily like my 1982 self was standing right next to me.
How did 10-year-old me KNOW? If you had told me, in 1982, “You’ll grow up to be a librarian and a children’s book author” I would have looked up from Bridge to Terabithia, wearing that rainbow shirt, and nodded.
(So why did I work retail after I graduated from college? What took me so long to figure it out?)
Here it is. A letter from me. (Kate lived on Oak Avenue, I lived on Knickerbocker.)
This is my voice. It’s the same. This might mean I have the mind of a 10 year-old, or that I was a very mature preteen. Or it might mean our self, who we are, is always there, etched in our bodies, and it’s our job to be true to that self and not let our lives get sidetracked.
Me: apparently I was always meant to be in love with books and libraries (and also typewriters and being funny). Apparently I was always a huge goofball.
Thank you so much, Kate, for sending this (and also for being game to and co-conspirator in so many shenanigans of childhood).
And you know what? Reading really does give you the answers to all of your questions.