Sunday, December 16, 2007

old blue letters in spite

Because of course I lied. I do that, sometimes, to make things easier on a person. It's lying for a good cause, I say, but then they're all from the same mixed bag of deceit, so what odds? It's funny how hard it is to put into words exactly what you feel, because what if you say too much, or too less, or, God forbid, the entirely wrong thing? One wishes not to drive away good company, but then one does it in spite of oneself. One is me, in case you were wondering.
And it's odd what you can do with letters that you can't when faced with a real person. Perhaps it is that letters are easier than live conversation, because you can hide behind a flow of words that twist and turn to suit your whims. We did have nice conversations, though, didn't we?

And it's odd that we have never spoken, isn't it? And a minute on a phone, or an hour of introductions - they don't count, really. Those are just excuses for occupying the same space. And it's funny because of all the people I ever found, you were the one most easy to write to. You were the one made me most prolific; the one to whom I wrote the most, the one about whom I wrote the most. Perhaps it's just as well. Perhaps I don't need to talk to you. Perhaps I won't sit across from you in a coffee house, or walk with you all around town, or sit with you on terraces in the middle of the night. Perhaps we'll never talk. It's okay, really, because I have other people to do those things with, don't I? But I still regret the dancing.
And papa Santa.

But of course there's no reason for writing beyond the writing itself. Like an over whelming urge to reach out and touch someone who, for a long time, occupied space in your head. There's no sense to anything at all anyway. And being myself never got me anything or anywhere, even. As long as I'm writing I can impress them, but then I talk, and it's as though all the things I need to believe about myself I don't; and all the things I do believe in are all the wrong things; and in the end I'm just not what they were looking for. How do you sell yourself with only the truth?
It doesn't work that way, does it?

And certainly it's true that a person who can find nothing better to do with her time than write pointless drivel to people she'll probably never meet is slightly insane. But then, where's the fun in being sane, anyhow? Poetry is so much easier, because you don't have to say anything. Letters are always the hardest things to write. Especially because you know exactly who it is who's reading all those words you're pouring out.
Every letter I write is different. I could copy a letter out and send it to a dozen people, and I would have to edit each one just as I edit the address line. That's the wonder of people when you pay attention, you see.
The fact that they are all somebody else.

Perhaps it's just perversion, the need to write to people, at people. Perhaps it's cruel to send people disconnected snatches of thought and call them letters, but what's the point of sticking to a structure when all you get in return are the same old sentences from everyone anyway? What's the idea with a set of instructions that tell someone exactly how they have to react? So this morning I wrote to four people and told them nothing, narrated no incident, revealed no theory. I said no hellos and I asked no questions and I sent no signals.
And this is where I find my fun.

my darling
how long has it been? i can't tell - it seems as though i found ways to get along without you too long ago. i thought of you yesterday, could you tell? it was unexpected, like ghosts and blasts from pasts forgotten and people leaping out of corners screaming boo. i'm sorry i never said a proper goodbye. it just seemed time to let go, and i never stopped to think about it. yesterday, i thought it had seemed the time because of all the substitutes i found (like cheap margarine, baby, nothing compares to you) but today something happened to turn that thought on its head and out the window. will she always follow me, that awkward fat bespectacled unlikable clumsy girl? will she always stand like a silent spectre, ready always to leap out and say, remember! remember all you were and weren't, remember remember remember remember. i didn't realize that the only laughs that really hurt are the ones unexpected. i didn't realize i'd learnt it already. how can anyone learn so many lessons and never know all she knows? i cannot remember, for example, where you came from. not to begin with, anyhow. nor why. i still miss you, sometimes, on the lonelier days, when the current conversationalist is absconding somewhere. we didn't talk much, though, did we? anyway. if ever i find someone with whom i could sit for as long in companionable silences like the ones we shared, i'd count myself lucky. this letter don't make sense. the one i wrote first made me cry. it said things like fat and ugly and stupid.
above all stupid. stupid and stupid and stupid, and the things people say, even when they care.
i'm a clown, dear d, did you know? a clown, yes, i have that big red rubber nose, so you'll laugh at that and miss the real joke. and that joke is me. who knew?
i wish you were here. oh, i do. i wish you here.
might as well wish you were real, while i'm at it.

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