#SOLSC21: What would I say to my dad?

Draft 1 (213 words)

Hey, Dad,

It’s been over 13 years and so many stories for you and it’s only fitting that it’s the first day of Spring and time to start thinking about planting. Stewardship was always important to you.

The light of my life: a son who found a gorgeous wife 8 years ago who have a 5 year old kindergartner and a two and a half year old charmer who would lead you around everywhere.

I retired early three years ago when work became untenable . . . ethically so inappropriate, but that’s a story best kept for another day as I only have 100 words.

There are a total of 7 (Pat’s), +4 (Jim’s), +2 (mine), + 4 (Wayne’s) for 17 great granchildren ranging from first year of college to three weeks old. The last grandchild graduates from high school this year so all the kids are growing up and building their own lives.

The farm is still rented out. Mom’s in an Atrium apartment and is fully vaccinated and has had cataract surgery in both eyes. Crocheting, sewing, and cards fill a lot of her time.

Sad times . . . we lost Joe and Ashley . . . and it’s been tough, but I’m sure you’ve already seen them and have quite a crew in your collected already. Since you left so suddenly, we’ve been better at family gatherings and trying to stay in touch because you never know when it will be the last time – the last chance . . .

Draft 7 ( 102 words)


13+ years. the first day of Spring, and time to start planing planting. 

My son is still the light of my life:  a gorgeous wife (8 years), a 5 year old kindergartner, and a two and a half year old charmer who would lead you around everywhere. (+ dog & 4 fish) 

Briefly: 17 great-grandchildren.7 (P’s), +4 (J’s), +2 (mine), + 4 (W’s)… range: college to three weeks old. Mom’s in an Atrium apartment, fully vaccinated.

Sad times . . . we’ve lost so many but you’ve seen them. BC we never know when it will be the last time – the last chance . . .


Format inspired by Tim yesterday at ” Tim’s Teaching Thoughts“. Thanks for the mentor text, Tim!

The word limit was hard and required many revisions!

What would you say? How would you decide what to include? What to leave out?


Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this daily forum during the month of March. Check out the writers and readers here.

Screenshot 2019-01-29 at 3.12.16 AM.png

18 responses

  1. I have a two and half year old charmer in my house, and she is definitely primed to lead her grandparents around when we next see them. I love this challenge. You pack so much life news into a short note.

    1. Concise use of words. It really felt like an impossible challenge when I was stuck at 136, 134, 139 words. Some cut, some added, never really decreasing!

  2. Fran, couldn’t possibly love this more. I didn’t use a word limit but I did write letters to my grandparents last week for Slice…I find it cathartic. I think of them often, as I’m sure you do with your Dad. I loved learning more about your family.
    Nowruz Mobarak- it’s the Persian New Year- so sending light, love, and wishes for a healthy, regenerative year.

    1. Thank you, Nawal. Letter writing feels personal, doesn’t it?

  3. Wow! I love what you did here. Including both drafts was really nice;it let us in to your process. But also to your priorities.

    It was also an intriguing way to learn about your beautiful family…your care for them is so evident. A legacy? What a wonderful post.

    1. Only possible because of your original post. Kudos to you!

  4. Oh wow. I love this format – thank you for the idea. Brilliantly written and incredibly tender.

    I love that you included the first draft as well.

    1. Thanks, Britt. I loved Tim’s mentor text.

  5. What is important when our words are few. What a great exercise as a writer and the results are profound. Seeing both your drafts is wonderful. I really feel like I’ve been through your processing.

    1. Thanks. Julieanne. Revision decisions. What goes? What stays?

  6. A beautiful letter and I love the approach. Seeing two versions really shows what’s most important to say.

    1. I actually saved other versions but thought two was enough!

  7. This is a great format. I, too like that you included both drafts. Having a max word count makes one think of what is important and what is just extra, Lovely letter to your father.

    1. I needed more process in the month!
      So today was both process and product!

  8. An incredible, moving post. Fran, I loved both drafts. Thanks for including them. Your format – a letter to your father – and your reminder to cherish our time with family and friends – to make time in our busy worlds. We just never know…

    1. A reminder again that format and structures matter. I have so enjoyed Tim Wheeler’s posts for new ideas!

  9. Forget the word limit, I love the content of the slice! So much to contend with, and then we’re gone…

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