Tuesday, September 22, 2009

There is something underwhelming about scholarly hate mail

An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England by Brock Clark

I don't think I've ever gotten hate mail. I've gotten one or two letters that felt kinda harsh at the time. Ok, maybe a few more that I've forgotten. I got one from my ex-psychopath that in retrospect was complete and utter manipulation. I've sent some letters filled with anger, but I don't really have anyone I hate, so it seems like it's hard to send hate mail. Those people I once hated are now dead, and sending them letters was always somewhat pointless.

But I've been thinking lately that mail just doesn't come the way it used to. I know people bemoan the death of the written letter right and left, but I have a reason for thinking this now. I've pretty much saved every letter I've ever received. Except those few from my first crush that I was talked into burning. (Ah, the exQUISite drama of your first "breakup"). And the ex-psychopath's letters don't seem to be around any more either. But we're talking letters from the 7th grade. It's not like email. We all delete emails. They're all short. Can you imagine sending a one paragraph letter?

I've hung on to all of them as some sort of proof that people have cared about me. I don't even wonder about that now, but it took a long time to consider myself worthy enough of love to take this step. I'm about to start sending them back to some of the people that wrote them. Not because they aren't precious. If they weren't precious, I wouldn't have them 25 years later. These letters don't tell the story of my life so much as they tell the story of the people who wrote them. The romantic ones won't go back. I'll keep rereading those for years to come. But the childhood ones...I suspect it will be like reading a diary you don't remember writing.

I hope it's as wonderful and meaningful a gift as it feels from my end. Now if I could just get Rae on the phone to get her bloody address!

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