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Dear H--Am I a Poet?

A letter to H. H. Lynn (as requested)

By Lena FolkertPublished 2 months ago Updated 2 months ago 10 min read
"For Heather" © Lena Folkert. Created with Wombo Dream

*** This is in response to Heather's "Write Me a Letter" Challenge. Heather, all I can say is, I'm sorry. Also, the letters are all there. I made them bold and underlined as they appeared in order --except the single "Z" which is out of order but present and accounted for ;) ;)

Dear H—

I hope life has calmed down a bit for you. I've been wanting to write you for a while now, but I just couldn't find the words. I guess I've put it off long enough. Every day, I think, "tonight's the night. Tonight I will finally give her my attention. I'll write her something beautiful and poignant. Something fit for a Shakespearean sonnet."

You deserve nothing less, after all. I had thoughts abounding. Wise words and precious insights, reminiscences of joy and grief, of love and of laughter. My mind was swimming with possibility. But life sure has a way of heaping it upon us when we are just finding our balance.

Truthfully, my friend, it's been a hell of a week. I don't know how you do it, honestly. You're a superstar, really. And on top of all of your workload and family stress and... life... you still manage to be there, ever present when needed. Never ceasing to produce amazing writing.

I'm ashamed to admit that I envy you almost as much as I admire you. I don't know how you do it. When I finally managed to sit down at the computer tonight and rest my fingertips atop the keys, nothing came out.

I wanted to write you the most beautiful letter, full of wisdom, and insight, and just a fabulous touch of humor to lighten the burden of the anxieties this world keeps forcing upon us both. But there seem to be no pretty or insightful words left inside of me. My mind is so wired, but my body and soul are just so tired.

I sit at the keyboard, music in my headphones, wine in my glass, and sadness in my soul, but still the words fail me. For you and those like you who are able to sit down and write every day — You astound me, and I live in jealousy.

As I listen to the sounds around me, soft music crooning, dogs snoring peacefully at my feet in the dim amber glow of the bedside lamp, I was so sure inspiration would come. The words would begin to flow. But as it so often happens for me lately, nothing came. That old block rests squarely on my chest once again.

Can you believe that there are some who do not think writer's block is real?

Maybe you're among them, your work certainly lacks evidence of it. But I must defend its existence. Mind over matter is a wonderful concept, but nothing in life is really that simple. Creativity, art, beauty... they cannot be willed into existence. They must be created. And creation requires inspiration and heaps of effort.

And just how apt is that name for it, anyway? Writer's block.

That's exactly what it feels like. A giant block resting atop my chest. It cuts off the circulation to my arms, numbing my fingers and making it impossible to write or to type

I get lightheaded from the lack of oxygen to my mind, and as my fingers go numb, so does my soul. Writing through concrete. That's what it feels like. My mind reels. But the words cannot form in this cement filled chest of mine.

I dread writing down the thoughts that come on nights like this. When my mind reels from the days, weeks, months, and years of trauma and disappointments. When the anxieties of life have weighed me down like a concrete block, and all that emanates out from me is the overwhelming desire to bury my head deep in the sand and seal my thoughts inside with the darkness.

There's no elegance to the words tonight. They are not fancy or insightful. I try to pretty them up with a rhyme, but my soul lacks the strength to force the music. Normally, I would keep these words to myself. Rarely writing them down, but rather letting them fly away with the wind, because I'm ashamed of them.

Still, sometimes, when I have the courage to pen them, I am overcome with the need to publish them. I know they let you down. They let me down as well. But still, like a compulsion, I press send or publish and let them be made known to the world.

Because the truth is that even those seemingly soulless and dull poems hold insights into the deepest parts of me. Sometimes, the most poignant lessons are the ones learned in the sunshine without any flickering lights or sombre music to lend them the vision of wisdom.

And sometimes, the most honest poems are cold, crass, and clumsy — Perhaps, these are some of my best in the end for their lack of pretense and pretend. Maybe for their honesty, they're even beautiful in a way.


Because the truth is that so often, I am just so full of crap. That's one thing I don't like about writing on a public platform. The urge sometimes to bend to the masses and the trends. I don't care about writing recipes or limericks. I don't care where most people first learned to write. Please keep this secret for me, my friend, or I will never gain a read again!

It's just that this is not what I thought writing would be. Social media engagement, begging for reads by providing the most and best comments. It takes so much energy from me to make a single reply that I am unable to write for days after. I wanted to be a writer, not a publicist. How could someone who's never managed to break through the ranks stand a chance? Someone who's always been invisible and easily forgotten even hope to be a famous writer in this digital age?

I suppose it's no surprise that I long to be like Jane Austen more than I do J.K. Rowling. I long for the days of peace and of quiet contemplation. I wish people still made house calls for society and rode in a carriage around the town square to share in the day's gossip and news. I guess I'm an old soul, after all. I certainly feel old. My soul is exhausted. And I'll never be like Jane Austen anymore than I will be the next J.K. Rowling.

I'm too weak. Mind over matter has no hold over me. I'm too weighed down by all my matter. Too much matter. Way too much.

I did issue a challenge to myself recently. To write a poem a day. I just wanted to be able to really call myself a poet. A writer. And you can't do that if you never write. In the past, I allowed the anxieties of life to overwhelm me, decades passed without a single word being penned. Nothing written down... How could I honestly call myself a writer?

I think that is what I fear the most, though. Not that I will never be a famous author. Not that I won't make the bestsellers list. Not that I will never make money off my writing. But that I will hit a wall that I can't break through. That this life that keeps beating and beating and beating me down will steal the last of my writer's soul from me. I feel the cement being poured down my throat. I resist, but I have to swallow. I'm choking, and I can't stop it.

I tried to challenge myself to write every single day. No matter what happened. Just let it flow. Free write and to hell with being perfect or being coherent, even!

But I failed.


That's why I envy you so much, H. You and so many others. It's like every word that you type out is perfect. Effortless ( though I know it's not). No matter what happens, you are all able to write through the block. And every word is golden. You sit down at your computer and pour out beauty and wisdom with every keystroke. I'm astounded by you. And those who sit down and type every word no matter how clumsy or pedestrian it may be... they astound me as well.

Though, I hate them a little less than the rest. I envy them much less than you. There's also the ones who fixate on every word, every punctuation mark, until it's perfect. It's so good it wins every time. I hate them too, but not so much with envy.

That's why I never edit my writing. Not really. I'll fix a typo when I see it. Correct a misspelling. Add in a missed space or two. But I never edit my own work. Because even I don't want to read through it too closely. The crappy stuff I'd just delete. And the halfway decent stuff, the stuff that I feel good about, I'd edit it down to nothing like an over-sharpened pencil or a fingernail you can't stop chewing.

But you're all better than me. I'm tired of being a failed writer. I'm so tired of letting discouragement and anxiety, and jealousy keep me from writing. I want to be able to call myself a writer, dammit! An unpublished and unpaid writer, if I must. Almost invisible and unheard of, begging for more reads, begging to be heard, alright... But by god, don't let me be a failed writer!

So, that's why I decided to write the words out as they come. To write this letter to you even though I had no great words to say. I suppose that is the only wisdom I have to share with you today, my friend. Though, if appearances are correct, you will never need it, but just in case, I'd like to share this small bit of insight with you.

Let the world see you at your less than perfect. Let the words flow as long as they will, and don't always edit them down to the nub. Let your writing be honest.

Even if it makes no money.

Even if no one reads it.

Even if you want to curse and spit and throw it in the fire when you read it yourself.

Because in the end, it is sometimes the failures, the rejects, the torn up pieces of paper that hold the best parts of us. Sometimes, we need to let the world see the deepest parts of ourselves, the parts that are not tidied up with perfect punctuation. Even if it lacks elocution.

— That’s where the soul is.

So, I’m sorry again, my friend. I do not have a beautifully poetic letter in me tonight. Nor did I last night. The truth is sometimes, I want to give up. Sometimes, I have no strength to be creative.

Sometimes, I’m convinced that I should have stayed buried beneath that rock and never picked up the pen again.

Sometimes, the world has worn me down and stripped me of my creativity, left me worn down, stripped, battered, and broken.

Sometimes, there is simply no poet’s spirit left within me.

So, yes, my friend. You deserve the best. And this is not it. But in the end, it is better than my best... Because it is in the worst sometimes that we reveal ourselves.

I may not be a great poet. But if a poet's job is to speak the truth, to share wisdom as well as admit stupidity, to bare their soul to the world, even if no one wants to know... then maybe, just maybe, I'm a poet after all. And certainly, so are you.



P.S. — Isn't it strange how some of us can say SO much when we claim to have nothing to say? Verbosity--you're name is Lena.

P.P.S. — I'm so proud of you for your continued efforts on your novel. I hope to do the same one day. I also am feeling the weight of life baring down on me, and I wish you many moments of quiet reflection and writing! Maybe I will be inspired once more by you!! <3


About the Creator

Lena Folkert

Alaskan Grown Freelance Writer 🤍 Lover of Prose

Former Deckhand & Barista 🤍 Always a Pleaser & Eggshell-Walker

Lifelong Animal Lover & Whisperer 🤍 Ever the Student & Seeker

Traveler 🤍 Dreamer 🤍 Wanderer

Happily Lost 🤍 Luckily in Love

Reader insights

Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

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    The story invoked strong personal emotions

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Comments (6)

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  • Randy Wayne Jellison-Knock2 months ago

    If a someone who writes the wonderful things I've read from her can think so little of herself, what hope have I? Compared to you I am naught but a hack with nothing to say beyond a few bad dad jokes. And if you manage all this without editing..., sheesh! I must admit there was one thing that I missed in this. Right after you recorded the "y" in "myself" you mentioned fearing that your creative soul might be stolen from you. Oh how I wanted you to expand on that word "soul" with a stolen/lost "zeal" or "zest". The entire alphabet could have been highlighted in order. Ah well.

  • Tiffany Gordon 2 months ago

  • Heather Hubler2 months ago

    My dear Lena, I am so humbled that you chose to spend your precious time penning this letter to me. I'd love to gather up all your hurt and pain and self-doubt and bear those burdens for you, because you have such a sweet soul. And you're a fantastic writer. You think outside the box and all your pieces wow me. I want you to know that I use you as an example when people ask me to give them feedback from the time you asked for fresh eyes on your sci-fi piece. You're attuned to being a writer and a reader, and it showed in the questions you wanted answered about your story. I will confess that I'm in the same boat that you are, I have a bit of envy to go with the healthy respect I have for writers on this platform, including you :) And I envy you for the transparency you've shown here in this letter. Every time I think of writing something that deep, I brush it off and write poetry instead, lol. Poetry is my emotional outlet. I don't even publish all of it as it's depressing. But when I do, it usually just bursts out of me and then I hit publish. I want to send you all the hugs for being so hard on yourself. I understand it too well. Every challenge I lose (which is all of them), I wonder what that says about my writing. But, then I remember that I write for me. So my friend, lean on me when you're stressing. I never mind when people just vent to me. Send me a message, email me, whatever works best. And keep your beautiful chin up. I've had plans for over 13 years to write my novel, and it's been put on hold more times than I can count, but some day, it will happen. And despite the weariness in your soul, I don't believe your writer's spark will go out...you have too much beauty to share. I'd like to thank you once more for your trust in sharing your heart :) I loved it!

  • Novel Allen2 months ago

    I began here just enjoying writing and reading when I wanted to. But now, yes, i try my best to read and engage because it keeps the brain busy and young to engage and be active. It does feel like a competition these days to keep up with the goings on. I understand how you feel, sometimes I have to dig deep to find the energy to engage in everything. We should go at our own pace, it is what I do.

  • Mariann Carroll2 months ago

    This is an magnificent letter, I am still need four hundred words to finish my letter. Great letter to the Challenge. 🥰

  • Lovely reply , though some think that I am not a poet, though most do 😸 . Excellent challenge entey

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