Dear Family of Strangers Connecting

Dear Family of Strangers Connecting:

How odd to wake each morning and think of you, immediately. Even as dreams hover. Even as the week’s worries crystallize too quickly, as I wonder what we shall say to each other, as I picture you rushing to jobs, to schools, to computers, to the day’s errands all too hurriedly. How odd that you have names and faces, and I have no need to know them. Some of you have shared that information; that is a gift of trust. For the rest, I am at ease with your mystery and fluidity; you are whatever you present yourselves to be. And the way I recreate you in my imagination.

Here is how you appear to me. You are kind and quirky, troubled and preoccupied, energetic and focused, frustrated and worn. Some of you know already what is important:  your lover’s pauses, your baby’s smile, your dog’s cocked head, your autumn marketplace filled with aromas and colors. Some of you are still learning the lessons you are writing, as am I.

Opening the laptop beside me in bed, I begin to type eagerly, even before I’ve switched on Mr. Coffee, tapped my nails on my son’s bedroom door, laid out slices of Chicago bread on aluminum foil, then turkey, then muenster, to make his usual lunch.

As he wakes and showers, I fret that I will not find words shiny enough, hardy enough, clever enough to hold your attention. As the coffee brews and then I take the first steaming sips, I wonder if I will make you grin, or reflect, or offer you what you give to me, daily – a sense of family.

Dear Family of Strangers:

When the night’s hours permit, I voyage across time and miles, strolling the Promenade along an azure sea, purring through erotic escapades in Paris as fingers and lips tangle in my hair, reminding me as I swim up through the fog of waking: I am not lost, and I am not broken.

Sometimes, I sink into the well. I search for a foothold, but the climb seems steeper and more slippery than it once was. Then I remember that you are there, and you expect more of me than this defeat. I feel for a rope, a jutting rock; I press on to fill my blank screen. I close my eyes and the juice returns, the well evaporates, and words travel without a specific plan. Now there is sky. Now there is a grassy field and open air.

I know. I am brooding and sentimental. You won’t like me like this. I ask your forbearance. Tomorrow I will be brazen or silly, but I’m hollowed out in this season of torrential rain and growing darkness, cold creeping into my bones. I don’t do well in the chill. But know this: your stories warm me, your words and letters make me smile. You read my bad days and my better days, my sloppy days like today. And I read yours.

Don’t think I would reject you in your entirety, whatever that may be at a given hour. Complexity offers a rich reserve of knowledge, and pleasure. When I know you are happy, I am happy for you. Happiness is not a hurtful thing, it is a hopeful thing. When I hear you struggling, I shape my words to soothe, or to bolster, because you aren’t alone.

When you make me laugh, everything is brighter. And I am stronger.

Dear Family:

You who understand that we own nothing, but are resplendent caretakers of everything and each other: I thank you for taking care of me. For allowing me to do the same.

You who befriend me: you know who you are, some of you with names and faces, others remaining tucked behind your pseudo-anonymity, like myself. You each do me honor, and I will pay it forward.

You who are no longer strangers: you become my echo family. I sense you. I hear you. In return, I give you the best of me when I can. This. Words are my god and my drug. Words are not my only god, but they are my only drug.

You who place your lives onto a screen vaguely aware that the world is peering over your shoulder: your vulnerability is a gift. You dare to express your humanity despite our cultural propensity for mask. If only we could all expose ourselves and say aloud: I’m lonely, I’m scared, I’m angry, I’m exhausted.

Sometimes, you nod in the quiet as you read between my lines while I tiptoe around that very refrain: I’m lonely, I’m scared, I’m angry, I’m exhausted.

Thankfully, there are moments when I can say: I’m happy, I’m surprised, I’m filled with wonder. Those moments are fewer; I dwell at the bottom of the well more often. I do not abide my own failure, but I am failing to scale these walls, failing to find the light. Sometimes, a single hand is enough to help me out, for awhile.

It is nearly winter, and we will be forced to gather. We build a virtual hearth for heat and community, welcoming strangers, sharing provisions. I bring you my words as contribution. They are my most natural currency, so I persist in unearthing them. They must be aired, polished, examined to be certain they are not counterfeit, and then used as intended – in exchange.

I’m tired and wrestling with language today, sluggish in constructing cohesive phrases. So I will simply say thank you in this seemingly infinite, intimate space. I will continue to tell my stories and ask my questions, to listen to yours, to participate. We are creating family, and I revel in the oddity of finding it here, bestowed with such generosity and affection.

Big Little Wolf

A vous qui me lisez en français:

Je vous prie de m’excuser ; je devrais écrire en français plus souvent, mais j’avoue que cela exige un effort, et parfois – puisque j’adore votre langue qui n’est pas la mienne, je préfère ne rien offrir que de maltraiter la poésie du français. Ceci étant, je vous remercie d’être là – et vous vous reconnaissez dans cette lettre – vous qui étiez des inconnus ; vous qui ne l’êtes plus ; vous qui me soutenez, sans laisser un mot.

© D A Wolf



  1. Linda says

    Oh that was just beautiful. I’m literally tearing up right now at my computer at work. If I could give you a hug I would… but do know that I look forward everyday to seeing what you have to say. Your words touch me, make me think, and at times take me to beautiful places that I will probably never see.

    I am here in your good days and bad days. I am here to read whatever you have to write and give you another member in your echo family. :)

  2. says

    One word: gorgeous.

    Gorgeous words. Gorgeously arranged, gorgeously knitted together.

    Gorgeous idea. That we are in this together, offering virtual sustenance that is often so real, more real than real, playing an unending game of hide-and-seek, hiding from the world, from ourselves, then seeking the same.

    Gorgeous metaphor. Family. What’s more nurturing and nourishing than family? Than people who celebrate and tolerate who we are? Even on our dark and slippery days.

    You are thoughtful, so very thoughtful, to thank us, but I will be the first (or among the first) to thank you. Thank you for your humility and honesty and humor. Thank you for sharing your days and your words so gorgeously. Yes, that word again. Gorgeous.

  3. jason says

    hang in there wonderful woman writer. you are appreciated by many, you bring warmth to many. sometimes it is hard to feel it when so many are far away instead of close at hand. i know i forget myself sometimes that there is warmth out there, sometimes it is when i need it the most. sometimes it is easy to make myself feel hurt, when i feel hurt. your warm words have been unexpected and appreciated kindness to me.

  4. Timothy says

    “You who place your lives onto a screen vaguely aware that the world is peering over your shoulder: your vulnerability is a gift. You dare to express your humanity despite our cultural propensity for mask. If only we could all expose ourselves and say aloud: I’m lonely, I’m scared, I’m angry, I’m exhausted.”

    Perfect. Thank you for this writing.

  5. Nicki says

    Thank you for your words. Yesterday was a day that was at the bottom of the well for me. I see it differently today, especially having read your thoughts. *hugs*

  6. says

    I wonder all the time. Will I have the right words to keep a reader to the end of a post? To make them want to come back tomorrow? To understand that I am the compilation of all my posts? Not just one. Not just the clit one. :) To have the patience to keep reading? Even when I don’t have the patience to really figure out what I want to say and I just throw some words together and hit publish.

    It is the connections that I so often think about. I don’t fixate on readers telling me “job well done.” I fixate on building a connection to the sweet people who take the time to read what I have taken the time to write. And I need more relationships in my life. We all do. All kinds. And some of the relationships I have formed through the writing of my blog have been more endearing than many I have ever made. Certainly more honest than the ones made on the playground, or in the school pick-up line.

    Many thoughts around this post. Thank you for writing it. For bringing the thoughts. Thinking is finally a happy thing for me. I don’t let it wear me down anymore. And writing helps that. Helps it very much. So keep on keeping on. And so will I.

  7. says

    Cultural propensity for mask … Sigh. Your words are spectacular, moving, beautiful. I’m glad I found you through Aidan & Momalom.
    I often feel like my online community is more real, more supportive, than my “real life” one. I fret about this, though I try not to. Maybe the people we meet without the masks of real life are the truest and most authentic friends of all.

  8. cjrambling says

    My virtual family keeps me sane and going on those days when I just want to give up. It’s a gift I never expected, this whole bloggy world. Thank you for putting it into such beautiful words and thank you for being part of my “family.”

  9. charlie says

    Your ‘rising from the ashes’ has rung so true for me and your blog as a whole has inspired me too (as a blog virgin -either as a reader or a writer).

    You’re a jolly writer and I will be looking forward to your much valued thought. thx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge