...back in the day

Dear Me

younger older self writing prompt

Psssst, Mrs. Stump, this is ESSmoker.  Remember that?  That’s the name you were going to sign your books by.  You said you were going to be published some day.  You declared to everyone that you were not only going to be a writer, you were going to be an author.  At least, even at that age, you knew you didn’t have to be published to be a writer. 

Mrs. Stump, I used to laugh so hard –where did your belly aching tear inducing laugh go?  Do people still call you M&M?  Do you get up punctually, without hitting the snooze because the impending snooze alarm freaks you out?  Do you still play your guitar?  Remember when you lived in Stowe and you set a chair out on the front porch and a tin can to the side and you played your guitar for money?  How embarrassing!  And no money.  That was around the same time you told God one night that if he was real, he would put ten bucks in your little yellow Fort Knox bank the next morning.  He didn’t take the bait.  (maybe he didn’t know the combination).  That was also during the time that you climbed up the wooded hill (overlooking Stowe once at the top) in back of your house, with a pocket full of dollar bills (where the heck did you get those from?) and lost them all in your return travel?  You made hundreds of rainbow pictures for your 1st grade teacher who hated them because you wrote at the top of each one, “God loves you.”  And you prayed for your catholic friends because they had to confess their sins to a priest and not to Jesus himself.  You told Erica stories and led the girls in acting out an ongoing drama (each girl was issued a handicap issue to contend with) during recess each day. 

Mrs. Stump, did you lose your daring?  Did you erase the first item ever to be place on your bucket list?  Do you use your imagination?  Did you lose your heart for spreading the Truth?  When was the last time you laughed so hard you cried?


6 thoughts on “Dear Me

  1. Oh E (I always write “E” because I don’t know if you want your name on here!), this post is very, very, very effecting… or affecting. Grrrrrrrrrr that WVU English degree did NOTHING for me.

    I giggle whenever I hear about your rainbow obsession. Because your love for dark humor and this rainbow thing are so at odds in my brain. So it ends up making you even more complex, which makes you the prefect writer. (Did any of that make sense?)

    When I read this through the first time (rambler girl posts OFTEN require a few readings, some pondering, often praying), I thought, “wow, this was brave. I don’t know if I could do this. I’d be riddled with guilt. I’ve accomplished so little. Maybe I’ve lost everything…” But maybe not. Maybe I’ve done other things I didn’t know I could do, etc. I think you inspired me to write to myself, too.

    The photo you found at the beginning, with the quotes, is amazing. Perfect.

    E, I had a pen name chosen as well. LA Stouch. What’s with us and our initials? I LOVE “LA”. “ESSmoker” was AWESOME. I always considered changing my last name to Story. Seriously. Because it used the first two letters of my maiden name, but was the perfect sounding word to follow my initials. Then there was a movie with Steve Martin called that, and I wasn’t sure if I could use it any more. AND I had a desire for everyone that knew me to know it was me – so I kind of wanted my real name so former middle school jerks would know I was famous. Tough decisions, ya know?

    Beautiful post. It’s inspiring and scary. That’s so you.

    1. My pen name sounds like the name of a Navy ship. Hopefully a nuclear submarine 🙂

      I think you should keep Story and become more famous than Steve Martin with it. LA Story. That’s so cool – wish I would have thought of it. But then again, ES Story isn’t as cool.

      AND LESLIE! I was going to write a retort from Mrs. Stump to ESSmoker declaring how the core things have not changed, how some things have, and how Mrs. Stump has become even BETTER than that little twerp. I hope you write that letter to yourself, but don’t let little Leslie bully the wise Leslie that you are now.

  2. Writing a letter to young me… Yikes on a stick! I don’t know if I’m that brave. I had a lot of bravado then… but it was all for show. {isn’t that usually the case?}
    I may have to dig deep and take on this challenge.
    Your prose is poetic and inspiring. Thanks so much for the vignette of times gone by.

    1. young bravado – I know what you mean! I was much worse then that though, I was pretty judgemental at times. I’m glad God knocked me down a peg or two – he has to do that from time to time 🙂

      You should try writing this letter – it gets you thinking about what you used to think was important and gets you to wondering if that’s still the same, how things change and how things are still too much the same.

      Thanks for your kind words – they’re very much appreciated!

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