Katherine Mansfield said this, and I have to say, I have been considering its very sentiment for the past week or so. Letters, words, affection, communication. It’s 2013 and the ways of expressing a thought or feeling have multiplied in every direction, and only gotten more complicated, making whatever you’re trying to say that much more convoluted. Texting, messaging, posting, video chatting, the list goes on.
So, like I said, I’ve been thinking about communication. How to communicate. How to tell someone you love them, how to tell someone you hate them, how to tell someone neither of those things. And you know what? It’s hard. In an attempt to figure out why that is, or how to overcome the burden of having too much to say and no time or place to say it, I’ve been writing letters I know I’ll never send. They’re too honest, and there’s not enough postage for the weight of my words.
I’m still working on figuring out where exactly my thoughts are taking me, and I promise, I’ll follow through on this. But in the meantime, here are a few things I’ve learned about the nature of letters:
1. They say space gives art room to breathe. I think time gives letters room for honesty you can’t really afford in a text message.
2. When you think with your pen, you express thoughts that never fully formed in your head. Putting pen to paper gives you the chance to develop ideas or feelings you’ve pushed aside, ignored, and/or denied. Resisted. Struggled with. You see where those thoughts stem from and where they go to when you let the ink spread.
3. When you’re utterly honest, even when it’s for your eyes only, you get relief. Relief from a million tiny burdens you’ve placed on your own tired shoulders.
4. Saying what you really think, really feel, being vulnerable and honest and sincere, gives your soul a chance to blossom. To exhale. Never be sorry for telling someone you love them– that’s a golden rule.
5. People will believe a letter, because writing and sending something with your own crooked letters and real signature, and a doodle on the back of the envelope, says it all. It says you care, and want them to hear and understand the words you’re giving them.
Like I said, I don’t know why I’m so preoccupied with this idea. Well, I kind of do, but I’m trying to follow my own advice and see the thought through to its origin and end. I want to know why this matters, and what it can change. More to come.
PS- As a writing exercise, take the quote at the top of this entry and write three letters: one to someone you love (they don’t have to know), someone you’re angry with, and someone you’re concerned about. This isn’t for them, this is for you. Be honest, and don’t hold back. See what emotions and words overlap all three. I think you’ll see yourself with greater clarity.
PPS- Let me know how it goes!