457. December 16th…Letter exchange…kind of like information exchange without all of the…information…and they’re letters instead….

“Sometime Before” 2010

“It isn’t necessary to imagine the world ending in fire or ice. There are two other possibilities: one is paperwork, and the other is nostalgia.” – Frank Zappa

yesterday…my students and I made and painted cards for the holiday…it was far above exciting and stimulating….

there are very few feelings like getting a card or a hand written letter these days…not to mention writing a letter…folding…it perfectly…slipping it into the envelope… addressing it…putting the stamp on and sending it off… and somehow…it finds its way to the person who is supposed to get it….I’ve not sent a letter in a long time…at least one that is important…and is not subscribing me to a magazine…or truck driving school…

I have all of the letters my father sent me from Vietnam in 1958 when I was 2…they are all written on hotel stationary and the envelopes are a certain type paper….almost see through and fabric like….his penmanship was like something from a manual on the proper method of writing…each envelope has “Par Avion ” across the wavy red and blue lines…the stamps are terrific…little masterpieces…sometimes there are no stamps…replaced with an APO address…the whole letter is a story…the envelope….the paper..the fragile nature of it all…everything about it is so tangable…and real…I could put it in an evelope…mail it off to someone else….somewhere else….

as a young teenager…I fell in love with a girl via the postal service…we’d met once in west Texas…while she and her family were visiting relatives there…the likelyhood of us ever seeing each other again was pretty slim….so our only option was the mail…we took a pretty small encounter…with attraction..turned it into love …for what ever love meant then…we talked about moving away together…the concerts we had seen…sent photographs…never talked on the phone as my parents had convinced me a long distance call was something like $500.00…a second…our love affair lasted through the fall..then the girl down the street started showing an interest in me…my letters…became less…as did hers….until she sent me a “BreakUp” letter…she too had found another…our love dissolved at the hands of the USPS….

for many years I practiced writing my signature…wanted something strong…kind of scary…a little over the top with a dash of the unknown…no matter how I tried…I got what I got…I saw for the very first time…while buying silver at the jewelry supply store the other day…an older Navajo man…make his mark…when signing….the invoice….his signature was a giant “X”…it said a great deal without revealing a thing…

I am going to start writing letters…sending cards….and I think maybe if I write one…two will be easier…and if I work this based on Fibonacci numbers…in no time at all I could be up to a few hundred thousand letters in a month or so…not really my desire though…so…I’m guessing that won’t be the best approach…maybe the quickest way to start this process is just start writing…if you want a letter…leave me your address….I’ll write you a card…we could be pen pals…like the pen pal I had in Africa when I was 10…except for the obvious I’m not 10 …most days…and you may or may not live in…Africa….who knows…I’ll send you a card…and if you want to write back…that would be great…

“A letter is an unannounced visit, the postman the agent of rude surprises.  One ought to reserve an hour a week for receiving letters and afterwards take a bath.”  ~Friedrich Nietzsche

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