Wednesday, April 22, 2015

An Open Letter to Jessi Kirby's YA Self

I'm very excited to be featuring a few YA authors on the blog, writing their own Open Letters, through out this month. Not aware of this fab feature? Be sure to check out my introduction post HERE. You can also read my Open Letter To My YA Self post HERE.

Please welcome YA author (and one of my personal faves) Jessi Kirby to the blog! Her novels inspire me as a writer, full of stories that make me feel as a reader, and propels me forward to make an impact with my own words some day. I adore the piece of advice that she gives her teenage self and how influential it will become later in her own life.

Dear Jessi,

If you could please climb down from the roof, or look up from that notebook you’re writing in, I promise this will be worth it. This will be something you’ll want to pay attention to. In fact, it’ll be something that you will probably read over a million times then cut out and paste into that journal with the sunshine on the front. You know the one. It’ll be one of the only journals you keep, and believe it or not, twenty years from now you’ll be showing it to rooms full of teenagers who want to be writers.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s back up.

Do you know that Shelley quote you copied onto the front page? The one you found inside the jacket of your favorite Cure album?

“We look before and after, and pine for what is not; Our sincerest laughter with some pain is fraught;
Our sweetest songs are those that sing of saddest thought.”

You chose that quote to begin that journal because a boy you loved broke your heart, and for a long time it was all you could write about. And so you wrote, and wrote, and wrote. Lots of sweet songs, lots of sad thoughts. You wrote about it until the feeling passed, and you moved on, and the words went from sad to hopeful. It’s what you’ve always done, and I’m pretty sure it’s what you will continue to do. And each time, those words of Shelley’s will ring true because life is made up of the heartbreaking and the beautiful and everything in between.

At sixteen, you’ve got an inkling that this is true. Twenty years later, you’ll know it at your very core.

In your life you will encounter people and situations and moments that’ll send you to your knees wondering how and why; and you’ll be given people and situations and moments more beautiful and dear than you thought was possible.

These things will move and inspire you. They’ll tug at your imagination and breathe life and action into that dream of yours that you keep tucked away and safe.

And one day that dream will come true.

You have always been a writer, but one day you’ll write for more than just yourself. You’ll write with the hope that you can somehow capture the heartbreaking and the beautiful and everything in between in a way that does it justice. And you’ll write with the hope that maybe, just maybe, those words will one day do for another person what Shelley’s words did for you.

That’s where the journal and the teenagers come in. Not only will you write for teens, but you’ll have the chance to talk with them about what you’ve learned and what you know about dreams and broken hearts, and about writing and life. And that will be more amazing than you can imagine right now.

So keep writing. And keep that journal safe. It’s a beginning, and one day it’ll be about more than just that boy who broke your heart.

Jessi Kirby's website | twitter | goodreads 

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  1. This is so awesome. Thanks for posting :)

  2. Awe! It's so interesting to see how Jessi got her start with writing. I know that I buy way too many journals, thinking that I'll write something worth writing, but it just never comes. I'll have to think of Jessi from now on when I give up on a journal.

  3. Beautiful letter, Jessi! I love that you constantly turned to writing for comfort and expression. And I love that we got to see the roots of the writer you were going to become with this letter :)


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