Dear Teen Me is a great site where authors write letters to their teen selves. My letter was published today (June 8) and can be accessed here.

Since I tend to censor myself a bit when I’m writing (especially from a biographical standpoint), this was a really good test for me. An opportunity to tell some personal, somewhat embarrassing things about myself to a wide audience. To lean into discomfort–because within discomfort, we grow.

But it’s damned scary. Like standing naked in front of a crowd and telling them all your deepest, darkest secrets, and praying they don’t throw tomatoes at you.

When I saw Sandra Cisneros at an event, she described writing as a empty house where you can say anything you want. A place were censoring is absolutely unnecessary, where you don’t have to give a damn about what anyone else might have to say about it. This really struck a chord with me, because I do tend to care what people think of me. And I started to realize how much it was getting in the way of my writing.

On the inside cover of my copy of WOMAN HOLLERING CREEK, she wrote, “Holler good and loud.”

I hope that with my Dear Teen Me letter, I can start to.

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