Letters of Three
“I thought if I were teaching this book, it would be fun to use this as a writing exercise. I’d call it Letters of Three, and I’d have my students write someone a letter three times, each time going deeper into what it was they are trying to express.”
So then, who did I need to write?
I decided I needed to write to myself — to the me that is a parent. But I wanted a slant approach because I prefer to sashay past the front door and climb in through a window.
Parenting is hard — sure — but writing believable parents is hard too. It’s so easy to lean into cliché. I like parent-characters who are wonderfully complicated, even in a book for kids.
So I chose three sets of parents with unique perspectives: the Dursleys, of Harry Potter, by J.K. Rowling; the Other Parents, of Coraline, by Neil Gaiman; and the Blevinses, of Cormac McCarthy’s All the Pretty Horses. I wrote the first two letters from the point of view of the child, and the final letter took the form of a poem from the perspective of the mother, Mrs. Blevins.
Writing them helped me to go deeper, as Callie advised. It helped me to know better why I’m drawn to these characters and books. It helped me understand who I am and who I am not.
Read more at Tweetspeak Poetry.
P.S. I have since read The Last True Poets of the Sea, and it’s fantastic! One of the best books I’ve read this year. (Here’s my Goodreads.)
I loved this book. As soon as I finished, I began reading it again.”
—David Lee Garrison, author of Playing Bach in the D. C. Metro