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I keep in touch with my grandparents mostly through writing letters, something I eminently enjoy and feel has fallen too much to the wayside in modern society’s hustle and bustle of a harried existence. In his latest letter—written in the most beautiful and meticulous penmanship that is his hallmark—my grandpa wrote a paragraph that was exactly what I needed to read:

Detail from Grandpa's painting

Detail from one of my
grandpa’s paintings

Glad to hear that you are finding time for personal writing. Keep it up—remember you have something to say to all of us and we need to hear. We write, we paint for different reasons at different times. Most of my painting is illustration, no big story, but I like boats and I want to paint them. Sometimes I try to tell a story—put some meaning into the picture. Sometimes I almost succeed.

That’s from Bill Atcheson, painter and my grandpa. I feel like there’s so much I want to tease out of this paragraph—about the importance of expression, about the ways that the things that are vital to us change but remain vital, about the need to try despite obstacles and challenges—but for right now, I am just going to dwell in his words and let them speak for themselves. And I’m gonna go write!

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