Good morning, my friends,
Today you will write 1000 words.
Did you figure it out yet? Did you crack the code? You didn't need me to tell you to do it these last two weeks. You already knew how. You didn't need anyone to guide you at all.
You can write 1000 words whenever you choose. You just have to want it, and then sit down and do it already. I promise you: you can do this for the rest of your life.
I don't mean to sound like someone's mother telling them to clean their plate at dinner because there are children starving in the world, but there are people who don't have access to the technology you have, who can't afford books or notebooks, who are denied an education and may never even learn how to read or write. Not to mention people who genuinely do not have the time to write because they need to work multiple jobs just to survive and support their family. Or who have health issues or disabilities that might prevent them from writing. People who don't have the same freedom of speech as you because of their political situations and are terrified to write. People who are unfairly imprisoned and are denied peace and safety and quiet, let alone the beautiful pen which quivers at all of our fingertips. People who have been made to shut up their entire lives.
You should write 1000 words for yourself because you can, and you should write 1000 words for those who cannot.
The final guest contributor is Ada Limon. She is a brilliant poet, and I love her work, including BRIGHT DEAD THINGS, which was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her new book, THE CARRYING, which comes out in August, is stunning. I recommend reading "How to Triumph Like a Girl" immediately, and then come back and finish the rest of this email.
"I think one of the things that helps me write is, simply: silence. It's boring I know. But we are never quiet anymore. When was the last time you went for a walk and didn't listen to music or a podcast or a book or decide to call your mother. Silence is where the writing comes from, that voice underneath the voice that we try our best to tamp down and gag with distractions and anxiety-inducing self-loathing. If we are really listening though, the world opens up in a way that it doesn't to everyone all the time. It opens as way of being generous to us, a reward for listening. We have to be tender to the world, we have to make ourselves tender to the world. We must be the receiver before we can be the maker. It doesn't have to be meditation (but it helps!) or long walks on the beach. It can just be a small errand you choose to do in silence: laundry, a drive to the pharmacy, weeding. If you can allow yourself that space, a shift will happen, underneath the buzz of the world, there's a story starting, a poem beginning, a deep noticing that at once feels surreal and more real than anything else. That's where the writing begins."
If you enjoyed these emails, and would like to support me, I've written six great books, which you can buy at your local independent bookstore (recommended!), or here.
If you don't want to buy my books, you could donate to my charity of choice.
If you don't want to do those things, just be kind to a stranger.
Don't do nothing though. For god’s sake, do something.
Deepest gratitude to all the guest contributors. (You can also purchase their books!) Shout out to Amelie Matte Zakaib for coming up with the name of this project. Thanks for tweeting and being there.
It has been a true pleasure. See you all in a year.
And now, back to America.