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Dear Tami,

It’s been entirely too long since we’ve spoken directly to each other. The location of your writing cave has proven more elusive than I had originally anticipated. Now that you’ve given it the code name (yes, I’ve discovered it) The Secret Lair of Writing, Big Thoughts, and Other Important Things, it’s been more difficult to pin it down, though I have no doubt there are many important things happening in there.

I’m sorry you’ve been feeling a bit down lately, my friend. You mentioned feeling like you’re in a dark place these days. I hate to point out the obvious, but you ARE writing in a CAVE.

I know, it’s not that simple and there’s much more to it than that.

We creative types have the proclivity for getting down from time to time, especially when we start doubting our ability to create anything good. It can be scary when you take that leap of faith in following your creative process and then taking it to the next level by showing it to the world. It opens up whole new realm of possibilities as well as uncertainties for you. My advice to you is to keep going, even when everything around you seems dark. Don’t worry, I’ll bring the flashlights or lanterns or flaming torches or a big box full of glow sticks. Whatever is needed. Just forge ahead and keep going.

You will come out of this dark place. Trust me. And when the doubt seems greatest, take a moment to read again the poem by Mary Oliver that I sent you a while ago. You know the one. And remember it’s ALL a journey worth taking – the good, the bad, the light, the dark. ALL of it.

Getting out of that cave and playing a bit might help, too. What’s that thing you like to tell me? Oh, yes:

Just sayin’.

Come and join me on an outing sometime soon. It might be just the thing to cheer you up. We could take my motorbike and go for a ride.

That reminds me of something I wanted to share with you. A most curious thing happened to me last week. It occurred on a particularly beautiful day, the kind of day that’s simply too gorgeous to waste being indoors, a perfect day to take a ride into the country.

I had been riding for about an hour when I decided to stop at a particularly beautiful place by a small lake. The sunlight dancing playfully on the water was captivating, like a siren call luring me in. I couldn’t resist. I quickly undressed and jumped in. You know how I love a good swim and this lake didn’t disappoint. The water felt brisk yet invigorating as I swam back and forth from one shore to the other. It was delightfully deserted there, just me and gentle lapping of the waves. A while later, I climbed out of the water feeling refreshed, dried myself off and found a place to sit and write in my journal.

~photo credit: FreeWine via Flickr

It was when I leaned back against a tree and was about to start writing that something in a nearby hollowed out log caught my eye. Imagine my surprise when I reached in and pulled out a coffee cup with a picture of a child’s wooden toy block and the words “Writer’s Block” beneath it. Next to it was a partially eaten Chocolove Dark Chocolate Sea Salt and Almond candy bar. How peculiar, I thought, since that is your favourite kind of candy bar and coffee is one of your favourite drinks to have when eating it.

Interesting.

I couldn’t help but wonder: was this a clue to the whereabouts of your writing cave? Had you left it there on purpose or by accident? And more importantly, was your cave nearby?

I quickly got to my feet and searched for the cave in the woods surrounding the lake. Several hours later, after looking everywhere I thought your writing cave might possibly be and finding no signs of it anywhere, I decided to head back to the tree and hollowed out log where I had left my jacket and journal.

I sat down again and leaned back against the tree to think and do some writing. I was sure I had been on the right track, yet I was no closer to find your writing cave than when I had first arrived. Feeling discouraged, I closed my eyes to think it all through more clearly. I don’t know if it was the swim I took earlier or all of the searching for your cave or working long days on set, but before I knew it, I had drifted off to sleep.

When I awoke a couple of hours later, I was surprised to discover that a brightly colored, knitted blanket had been draped over me while I slept and a tiny basket filled with scones and a thermos of hot tea had been placed on the ground next to me.

But perhaps the most intriguing discovery was what I found nestled up to still-warm scones in the basket:

A small, yellow rubber duck with a piece of paper rolled into a tiny scroll and tied to its neck.

Perplexed, I loosened the string around the duck’s neck and gently unfurled the paper.

And what did I find there on that piece of paper?

A copy of the poem The Journey by Mary Oliver.

You wouldn’t happen to know anything about that, would you?

Respectfully yours,

Ben

P.S. I’ve been meaning to ask, how is your British accent coming along? I’m sure that is one of the Important Things you are doing in your Secret Lair/Writing Cave, what with the great acoustics and such. I would be glad to stop by and help you practice.

Just sayin’.

~*~

*Editor’s note: The views, ideas, and opinions expressed in the Letters from Benedict series are works of fiction and obviously did not come from the actor himself. This series is just my way of expressing adoration for Mr. Cumberbatch and his work and is not intended to be taken at face value or seen as a true collaborative writing endeavor with him.

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