I write letters to people and then forget that I wrote them, only to write them again, obviously in the same hand and with similar affect but with diverging themes and words. I write letters and send them via standard mail, paying twice, sometimes three times for postage and I send letters via electronic mail and forget all of it, as if it never happened. I re-write letters and read them just to ensure that what I’ve written is comprehensible and also to ensure that the words resemble the ideas I wished to portray. Two letters addressed to the same person sit before me and I worry if one of the letters isn’t perhaps mis-addressed. I open the letter and it’s addressed to the correct recipient so naturally I have to check the other letter as well, also addressed to the intended reader. I set the letters next to each other and read through them at the same time sentence by sentence. It’s remarkable, the slight change in ideas I sought to portray, a metamorphosis from inchoate to discernible, the relationship at first solely visual via the symbols on the page. Same hand, same voice, different writer. Different thinker in a different time. The eye and brain form a symbiosis and thus a narrative is traced and if not narrative then the expression of thought and perhaps emotion as illustrated carefully by the author of the letter specifically for its intended recipient. Non-formulaic salutations end in nearly the same fashion (though not quite) and the signatures are mismatched just enough for a shrewd reader to question that both letters were written by the same man, the same hand, the same writer. I fold the letters to re-seal them in envelopes and send them on their way so as to begin to focus on all the letters I still have to write.
Published by TJ McAvoy
Primary influences include, in no particular order, Chandler, Voltaire, Saramago, Borges, John Coltrane, Nietzsche, Ricardo Piglia, Emerson, George V. Higgins, Manuel Puig, D.F. Wallace, Cortázar, Denis Johnson, Michelangelo, Italo Calvino, Cormac McCarthy, Juan José Saer, Keith Jarrett, J-Dilla, Roberto Bolaño, and Don DeLillo. View all posts by TJ McAvoy