Dear Heathen,

I assume you received my last letter, despite the fact that I did not get a letter in return.  By the way, thanks for that.  Nevertheless I am sending you another letter for several reasons:

  1. Because of a resolution
  2. Because I think I’m interested in library science
  3. Because I bought a collection of Frank O’Hara poems.

Let me begin in reverse order, with point 3.  Thanks for introducing me to Frank O’Hara.  It’s somewhat embarrassing to be a poetry enthusiast and still not know or be able to recognize so many brilliant voices and poems.  I’m trying to remember what the first poem was that you sent me, I want to say it was, Having a Coke With You, or something by a similar title.  I recall you posting it on my facebook wall, if only I’d had it in writing.

(Rant: One of the reasons, among many, for quitting facebook is because I want more concrete-ness in my life.  No more veiled meaning status updates or wall posts or ironic photos with self-depreciating titles.  I want face to face or voice to voice interactions.  My new personal motto is going to be, ”Leave a paper trail.”  I think I’ll make buttons or stickers or begin tagging it around the city.  Cripes this is an obnoxious rant.  I’m like the crazy people babbling on the subway.  They deserve to be admired for their conviction, though.  It’s important to stand for something, even if it scares the rest of us.)

Revenons à nos moutons.  I’ve got Mr. O’Hara sitting to my left, which of course meant that I had to write to you.  I have decided that I should read more poetry, a little each day; like taking a vitamin.  I think I’ll take a morning vitamin and then read a poem.  Or, I’ll roll the poems up small and put them in my vitamin jar so they fall out with the vitamins.  Speaking of daily poems, are you familiar with the Writer’s Almanac?  It’s one of my favorite discoveries, found through a writing teacher.  WA is an online site that offers a brief 5 minute program everyday.  Each show begins with bits of literary history and is followed by a poem.  It’s ready by Garrison Keillor (squeal!) who has the most wonderfully old timey radio voice ever.

I’m hesitant to start in on point 2 so let’s skip to point 1.  One of my resolutions is to write at least one letter a week.  Deleting my facebook means devoting time and effort to maintaining my friendships,  I believe the people in my life deserve the care and attention of, in the very least, a well crafted letter.  This is not to say that all social media or networking sites are bad, only that my place is not among them.  All the better for you, now you get typed letters and poems.  Pas mal, n’est-ce pas?

Which brings us to point 2, which I must briefly address before signing off.  Might I ask for your advice about library science?  I realize that I love, more than anything else, books, pages, archives, research, quite spaces, long tables, cardigans, etc.  Most of the jobs that interest me are working at libraries or in an archive or assisting with research.  I’m hesitant to pursue this career path because I’m not sure what a typical day consists of, or that it might be boring or different then how I imagine it.  I also wonder about job prospects for library work.  Do you have any insight?  I imagine you do.  So, please write me back.

All my love,

Yours Truly

On leaving a paper trail, the necessity of handwritten tokens

Dear Friend,

This blog is an homage to the craft of handwritten (at times typed) letters.  Unfortunately, like many things now deemed obsolete, handwritten anything has suddenly become a thing of the past.  We no longer take the time to leave each other notes, letters, or even make actual telephone calls.  (A good friend of mine told me that aside from her mother, I was the only person who actually called her on the phone to talk.  She always knew if her phone rang it was either her mother or me.)

I’m filled with deep sense of regret and sorrow because the technology of emails, text messages, and voicemails (if anyone still calls you), block the human connection and romance of receiving something tangible.  I’m certainly more of a sentimentalist then the average person, I love rereading old letters and find myself squirreling away any tiny paper token that will remind me of the things I’ve seen and done throughout my short years.  Nevertheless, I’d like to have a more real sense of a relationship then a brief email or five word text message.  I believe letters offer us the chance to share and connect with friends in a meaningful and special way.  I’m no proponent against technology; however, I do believe there is something to be said for re-evaluating the amount of time we spend on sites which claim bring us closer and help communicate better with people.  These virtual forms of intimacy are the most traumatic lack of realness I can think of.

Until A Letter is a composite of letters and an ode to paper ephemera.  While posting this online feels a bit contrite, considering my embrace of communication offline, I hope that it may inspire a movement of letter writers, or at very least, admirers.  It is my hope to leave a paper trail, I hope might choose to as well.

Sincerely,

Yours Truly