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Dear Aarti: I just finished watching your TED talk and I have a mixed bag of comments. First, your message was very important and very interesting to me--there have been a number of creative things I have wanted to do and I allowed others to tell me what the limits of my capabilities were, to my sorrow. Your story of emerging as a writer and taking control of your own decisions even in the face of near-crippling feelings of inadequacy is an incredible testament to the power of self-acceptance and having a driving goal to sustain you in your struggles to reach your dreams. I wish I had heard your words years ago. There will always be writers or dancers or bakers or whatever, who seem to be more accomplished than you, but each and every one of them (if they are honest) would like to be better at what they do than they are now, and they probably study and train and do whatever they can to improve their work. That is all that you can do, just keep trying to be the best you can be. You are evidently going great guns at being a writer! One thing I wanted to mention that you might consider. You were speaking very fast for all but a few sentences of your talk, and it was rather difficult for me to understand what you were saying. You might consider slowing down your speech a little. You might think you sound like you are saying one word a second, but by just slowing down about 1/4, you will be much easier to understand and you will also sound more confident, sure of yourself, and comfortable with your audience and your subject matter. I intend to replay the TED talk to see if I can pick up more, since there are still things I would like to accomplish and I think your words could help me. I love your enthusiasm and eagerness to help, and I wish you all the best in your writing career. I send you a garden of wonderful story ideas ready to be picked year 'round, and a pool of crystal thinking you can dip into anytime you wish, and both these will be kept safe in your mind for instant access whenever you need them. Love to you from Carolynn at cjpadgett@sbcglobal.net

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