Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Letters not to send

  When I was in NJ, I came across quite a few Letters Not to Send from the early 2000's.

I read an article today that made me immediately want to contact you. It was an article about fungi, so it's pretty weird that it would make me want to contact you. Because wtf do you have to do with fungi?

  Usually, these are letters one writes to someone from whom they're estranged and can't talk to again. (Such as an old boyfriend.) It's a common sanity preservation tactic of mine and one I recommend to others. Get those thoughts out and write a fake letter to that person. It doesn't work to just write a journal, or write the thoughts in an e-mail to another friend. It has to say, "Dear Ex-Boyfriend" or "Dear Ex-Friend" or something like that, or it doesn't work. Even though the letters never get sent, people who write them feel infinitely better.
  What I have difficulty with is not just the emotional stuff, but the everyday. What I mean is, the things about which I would have communicated with that person on any old day, especially things that no one else will want to hear about or will understand in the same way. Something that relates to an inside joke. Information about a movie seen with that person. Recently, I wished I could have shared with a friend details of a recent date.* Anyway, sometimes I make a list of these things in my G-mail Drafts folder. (CDs that SoandSo would like; Articles to share with BlahBlahBlah if we are ever friends again...)
  This was meant to be a post like, What happens if those "letters not to send" ever get sent? The list of everyday things or the emotional stuff? I think the emotional stuff is best left in one's own password-protected Drafts folder. Mostly. I would like to share this gem, which I dug up when trying to find a link to a scientific article in one of my E-mails Not To Send.

I am willing to be completely peaceful. I wouldn't even get drunk and say something snotty.

Wow, that's profound, Sarah of the Past!

Anyway, I like the idea of making a List of Everyday Stuff. I wonder if it's at all therapeutic to write fake e-mails to someone saying things like, "Yesterday I heard a CD you'd really like." If it's as helpful as, "Dear SoandSo, I know we can never see each other again and that you really hurt me but I have a secret: I miss you." Maybe that list of everyday things could be shared with someone else. Or maybe that list is just for the list-writer. Maybe the list-writer can enjoy it. I don't know. What do YOU think, readers? And I know I have more than one, because you talk to me about this blog in real life, so speak up!

* My Portlandic friends find it highly entertaining that within three days of getting into town, I went out with two different men.

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