I write letters.

I have, all my life. I write love-letters. I write goodbye letters for soon-to-be-ex lovers or friends. I write letters when a friend needs a spark of encouragement, support, confidence, love, or nourishment. I write letters in response to letters loved ones write me, when they’ve reached out for some bit of insight, counsel, or advice. It is the call and response between two souls. A recent exchange began with a friend writing to say, I cheated on my husband. I’m shredded with guilt. What do I do? In my letter back, I don’t give answers or deign to. What I do is try my darnedest to unpack and sort the human heart. From my words, one or two or three morsels of light will rise, to help you walk your path more surefooted than before. Each letter is a story. It becomes swiftly evident that the dialogue sorts me out as well. Such is the alchemic possibility of narrative nonfiction.

In the past, I’ve also ghostwritten difficult letters for friends and relatives. Difficult letters spread the spectrum of vulnerability. Sometimes the difficulty lies in loving someone so ardently that the lover needs a little help with distilling feeling into prose. Or, the difficulty is the giver loathes, fears, or has been hurt deeply by the letter’s recipient, and asks that I help communicate their voice.

Finally, I also write letters to myself. These letters are my way of checking my inner temperature. They are a mix of self-reflection and self-love. They help me navigate confusion, clarify choices, and hold me accountable to the values I hold dear.

In this space, you will read letters from all three avenues. And if you feel compelled to send me a letter for me to respond to, on this public forum or privately, I’d enjoy that immensely. I’d love to see that fourth avenue unfold. You may write me here or at reema.zaman@gmail.com.

With every letter you are about to read, names and certain events have been changed in respect of privacy and dignity.

May you find what you need in these words.