DEAR INTERNET: a response to letters in the mail
I am writing all over you tonight. I hope you don’t mind. This letter is going to be about me.
We’ve been together for a long time now, or so it seems, and I still feel like we don’t know each other that well. Do you feel that way? Like a hurricane?
Joking about the weather.
Dear Internet. Do you ever feel like people won’t leave you alone? I bet you are feeling this way. And if you are anything like me …
Dear Internet. Why can’t we ever see eye to I? And if you never feel me, I mean really feel me (like moles feel earth and faces hot laundry), what’s the point? I once thought I would just be a passageway/prism/medium/sounding board and that seemed legitimate, like the universe is chaos and it comes to me in words and it is up to me to get what the words mean, or whatever Whitman said or meant when he said it.
Dear Internet. I got a letter in the mail last week. I’ve talked to you about this before. But I got one from Matthew Specktor that I can’t let go of. Part of me wants to load in my favorite parts so I can come back to them whenever I want; I’d like to use you as a drawer, Internet, or a filing cabinet or whatever; but then I think: one of the luxuries of a letter is the unmediated voice of the person who wrote it and if I were to present what I considered the highlights of every letter I got in the mail I would be doing you and certainly the letters and their authors a disservice, and that’s not my intention — not at all.
Dear Internet. Tell me what you love best about where you’re writing from, and why, also, you despise it. If you can’t summon both feelings, it’s possible you’re living in the wrong place.
Dear Internet. I wonder that anyone should ever be called upon to defend anything that isn’t a political position. … Tastes, in other words? Probably not. I don’t trust anyone whose tastes are too good, too studied. Who don’t have the confidence to love something appalling. What do you love you know others find appalling? Is it the way I am shameless before you?
Dear Internet, if it’s true that all voyages are ultimately ‘a journey towards love’, that a voyage without that is essentially futile, do you think we are on a significant voyage here? Is a love for the future enough?
I’m pretty convinced that most of the stuff I hate is just… waiting for me to love it later. What should I do?
My friend David Shields… likes to say “plots are for dead people”. I never have the heart to tell him it’s ok, we are dead people, in a sense. It’s why we like stories. It’s because they coerce us to their end, Internet.
Dear Internet, are you sorry I am not coercing you?
I sometimes think the reason one writes anything is simply to find a container for these pieces of the past, one that’s strong enough to hold them in place and make them glow. That’s what a plot is, and does. … Hence, the measure of a writer’s success isn’t sales; it’s more along the lines of something biological: you hope to move out and inflame some other person’s imagination with these fragments. … I want to bottle up those things that are themselves just containers for everything that’s gone.
I’ve spent these pages digging for something like water, or bedrock or treasure, trying to find something, because without that this really would be an empty exercise.
Dear Internet. I am hiding this so Matthew Specktor can be found.
Dear Internet. You have so many analog functions.
Dear Internet. Tell me about letters in the mail.
(all italics are Specktor)