4 letters and 4 truths about control

Dear Internet,

Hi, I’m Gracie.  I like Dora and Elmo, coloring, and blogging.  I’m eight years old.  My parents have told me that I’m going to live a long time, but I know the truth.  I have lymphoma and the prognosis isn’t good.  In whispered conversations with the doctor, between sobs, I have heard that I most likely only have months to live.  They are brave for me, but they don’t need to be.  I’ll be okay.

I’m writing this quick letter because I wanted the whole world to know that they don’t need to be sad.  It is going to be okay and, to paraphrase the words of my favorite dinosaur, chances are I probably love you,



The massive heads of the metal giants rise and fall in the gloom.


To my crush,

I know I haven’t said more than two words to you (“hello” on two separate occasions) since the start of the year.  I wish I had.  I just can’t seem to find my voice when you smile at me.  You deserve more than my silence.  You deserve more than this note, but I had to tell you how I feel.

I think you are the most beautiful girl, inside and out, in our class, and I wish I had the courage to shout that from the rooftops.  I wouldn’t want to embarrass you, but that’s how much of an impact you have on me.  Will you go to the spring dance with me?



The derricks noiselessly pull their prey from the bowels of the world.


To my classmates, friends and family,

If I were able, this is the letter I would be writing to you from … well, I’m not really allowed to talk about what comes after.

At my funeral, there was much talk about “too young.”  We like to think we are in control of our lives as we learn and grow and prepare to become adults, but the reality is, no matter how much we think we are, we still have no say in what happens to us.  The driver of the car that hit me wasn’t drunk, he wasn’t speeding, he wasn’t distracted driving.  The sunlight glinting off his windshield momentarily blinded him as I stepped into the crosswalk and he didn’t have time to stop.  I could have just as likely been the driver as I was the pedestrian.  So could all of you.  So, is there really such a thing as too young?  Any time we get is a gift.  Every day we wake up is a miracle.  You should embrace that and stop worrying about the illusions of control you’ve built up.

Love each other as you loved me as you said your goodbyes,



The black gold spills from pockets that are already stuffed full.


To my future employer,

After receiving my application and then Googling my name and checking out my Facebook page, I would appreciate if you would take a minute to review my resume before tossing me into the round file bin.  I put a lot of hard work, energy, and time into obtaining my degree from a well-credited university and feel that I deserve more of your consideration that my online persona.  Do you remember school?  The pressure to be social, to do and be more than the person locked away in their dorm room studying?  Do you remember the struggle to balance a part-time job, your studies, and your friends?

My online persona paints a certain picture of me, but it is only one subset of my life.  When you factor in the coursework I excelled at, my diligence in studying when it was required to maintain a high grade point average, and finish near the top of my class while still maintaining a healthy social life, you can easily see how I would be a valuable acquisition.  I’m dedicated to the causes I believe in.  I don’t give up on my dreams.

Now that I’ve finished school, my new dream is to work for you.  Please give me that chance,



Another day dawns, and the sun shines on the oil rigs pumping away.

Oil Derricks at Dawn
Image credit: Mike Robinson

68 thoughts on “4 letters and 4 truths about control

  1. I love this. I wish I had more words to explain, but I feel like I want to let it settle and simmer in my brain for a bit. Whatever comes from that process, I love this.

    • This one was interesting for me… The first line below the first letter came to me as I was driving by the derricks I drive by every morning on the way to work… and then I had the idea of writing it in juxtaposition with some letters from “kids” at varying ages and points in their lives, some good, some bad… all honest. Something really struck a chord between how we have no control over our lives, and yet, the world keeps doing what it needs to, or wants to, or feels like… it is all beyond our control… I’m not sure I can really explain it either…. but, it took me all day to write. Normally, I write my posts in fifteen minutes. If you come up with more after “simmering” I’d love to hear your thoughts.

      • I’ll definitely share.

        BTW, I apologize about the story prompt. Girl ended up sick for two days, and she’s been go, go, go ever since. I’m still trying to finish a post I started over four hours ago.

      • No worries at all. Life happens. Children happen… I had plans for the weekend too that were dashed for the same reasons.
        I’ll be posting a new prompt tomorrow… I think you’ll like it too… but, feel free to respond to last week’s if you are still feeling inspired by it, whenever you have the time. No rush. No pressure.

  2. I am with msmonsterful on this. I don’t have the words, but it definitely provoked emotions: sad, hopeful, anger, acceptance . . . Hard to explain, but this piece did move me.

    • Seems like you found the words anyway. 😀
      I’m glad it provoked some emotions, that was the ultimate goal, as is always the case with written word. I think the responses I get on this one should be interesting. There are so many different ways this could be interpreted…

  3. You weren’t kidding. Look, I scour this WordPress place looking for stuff that genuinely makes me feel something. For things that don’t feel disposable. For things that stay with me. I don’t know Matticus, but you always struck me as a writer, a real honest to the core writer, but there always seems to be something holding you back from letting go. I won’t ever say that again. This was priceless, and easily the best thing I have read in ages. I give you mad points for this, the structure, the fact that nothing really ties in together but everything perfectly ties in together. For the fact that it’s not easy or convenient. This made me feel something, and I greatly appreciate that. Fantastic, man. Fantastic. No other words for it – this is an original.

  4. I love all of these. We need to realize that more things than not are out of our control. It is a difficult lesson to learn and I think few of us really do (I’m still learning). Thank you for writing this.

  5. Each piece was really good to read, each sucked me into the words. However I don’t understand the connection between them and the oil rigs.

    • I’m not sure there really is one…
      Except, maybe, in the broader sense that everything is connected. As our personal lives go through their ups and downs, the world continues on unaffected…

      • Haha, I’ve had a bad day at work, I wouldn’t want to put you under the pressure.

        The only thing I could think of (even though I didnt get the connection) was essentially that the wheels keeps turning and as oil rigs in the US seem to turn then perhaps that was it.

      • That works too. When I first conceived the idea there were some words in my head along the lines of “big wheels keep on turning.”
        The letters ran longer than I wanted them to, in all honesty. I had hope to tie in the rigs with the letters eventually, but didn’t want my word count to get any higher. I was going to say something about how the oil being pulled from the earth was integral to so much of our lives that we don’t even think about – making the plastics that make hospital machinery possible, and the pens kids use to write love letters, and cars cheaper and faster, but not as safe as when they were slow and heavy with metal, and prevalent in everything from the chairs and desks in classrooms to the computers used to write resumes and fill cubicles across all industries.
        But, now that it’s been published… I actually like the story this way.. open to some interpretation of what it all means and what the connection is. Or, that perhaps there doesn’t need to be a connection at all.

      • I like the story the way you went with too, I think the thing about oil and all aroun that would have… yeah ill say it, would have spoiled it. The letters were the main cast and the oil references certainly the “also appearing”

      • Yep, I think you are right. To go further would have spoiled the power of the story as it is now. I’m glad I was keeping an eye on word count and kept my writing in check.

      • I tend to ramble on mine, I don’t really take word count into consideration until i read a post where people said that over 1000 words they normally skip.

      • I’ve heard that too… Our short attention spans these days. Sad, really, as most of the time limiting our word count stifles our creativity. Alas, we live in the world of 140 character relevancy.

      • I use twitter to promote my posts on wordpress and occasionally to test my creativity in a confined space. There are a lot of very clever people out there who work magic with their 140 characters too, and I enjoy watching them work.

    • Thank you!
      I wasn’t sure what to make of it, actually. When the idea came to me I wasn’t sure I’d be able to pull it off, and then if I did, if it would make sense to anyone but me.

  6. I loved the content of these letters, DJ, just like we all did. Such moving words. But it made me think … what if we had the courage and clarity to write letters like this to?

    Who would we write to, and what would we say?

    • I thought about your question for a long time, and I guess becuase I don’t have a good answer, I lack the courage or clarity to write my own letter…
      But, it is a grand idea, and I might pose it to the Kingdom and see if they have letters they want to write and share.

  7. I read this twice. And I’m still not sure what to write.
    It – yes. Stopped me in my tracks. It made me think. It made me wonder what the connection was, what your inspiration was, how you came up with this.
    Yes, I’ll have to agree with Trent. This is more of what I think writing is, and less what I think blogging is.
    It’s like a gourmet dinner and fast food. Blogging is fast food. Fit for mass consumption. This is not. That’s why some of the best writers on WP are not the most popular bloggers (although you are both; how do you pull THAT off?)
    Sent you an email but it went to the wrong address. You’ll see it tomorrow.

    • I don’t pull it off.. I fake it. You pull it off… a brilliant writer and a thriving blog community too.
      Though, maybe that’s just the curse of the writer, never thinking anything we put forth is really all that good. If nothing else blogging has taught me to publish anyway. I may think it is shit, but, that doesn’t actually mean it is.
      I did have a good feeling about this one though…

  8. Having just read Ra’s latest blog through tears as I sniffled and snuffled in my coffee, I came over here only to find I needed more tissues. To quote Samara, “This is more of what I think writing is, and less what I think blogging is.” I tip my hat to you and look forward to reading more of your writing.

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