This I Believe

JoAnn - Clearwater, Florida
Entered on June 12, 2006
Age Group: 50 - 65

I believe in speaking up and speaking out. That is what we have voices for — to let them be heard, either vocally or written. Because of this belief, my local newspaper is very familiar with my name. As a “news Junkie,” I am always writing about something, which I have read about in the newspaper. I seem to have an opinion on most everything. Over the last 18 years, writing letters to the editor has become a favorite hobby of mine. In the old days, I used to hand-write my letters and mail them in. But now with e-mail and web sites, not only is it easier, it is much quicker as well. With my computer, I get instant gratification and no postage stamp is needed. Not only does my writing letters serve as a creative outlet, but it also allows me to express my opinion and hopefully connect with other readers. I also believe that letter writing can be therapeutic. At least it is for me. Because I must zero in and focus on the message — all my troubles seem to evaporate, while I am busy organizing my thoughts. And, as odd as this may seem, my writing also serves as a catharsis. After releasing my thoughts, it is a relief to my mind. I write about political issues, editorial cartoons, comic strips, local issues and on occasion I have even written about the benefits of listening to National Public Radio. My letters can sometimes be serious, although at times scolding and maybe even somewhat insulting. But, some of my letters are light, humorous and kind of playful in nature. Sometimes my letters really tick people off. I have been known to get “what for,” from time to time, from local readers responding to my letter, by writing a letter of their own to the Editor. And that is OK by me, because everyone is entitled to their own opinion. And it never stops me from writing back with another opinionated letter. While I certainly don’t mean to anger anyone, I do believe in being true to my own convictions. Since often times my letters come across like a mack truck, I wonder what readers might think, if they actually knew my often tough-sounding rhetoric came from a 4′ 11″ 90 pound weakling? Sometimes I even feel sorry for the editors, who see another one of my letters popping up on their computer screen and probably thinking: “Not her again.” I also believe that my letters may help others gain a voice, which they may have once been afraid to use. I am speaking of those, who may be too timid or embarrassed to speak out about a particular topic, fearing criticism. I believe that my letters may help those find the strength through a simpatico relationship. While only a small fraction of the letters, which I write, do get printed, I believe in perseverance. And because of my perfectionism, I sometimes get angry with myself, when discovering an error after my letter has been sent. Nevertheless, mistakes and all, I do believe that I get my point across. When others have expressed to me, their desire of writing a letter to the editor, I always encourage them to do so. My motto is this: “Speak now, or forever hold your peace.” And this, I believe.