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.
Re: Person I never knew
TJ McAvoy Fiction, literature, prose, writing 1 Minute
Published by TJ McAvoy
Primary influences, 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, Melville, Keith Jarrett, J-Dilla, Roberto Bolaño, and Don DeLillo. View all posts by TJ McAvoy