Letters to Home

Dear J—

When home meant Cheney I used to write physical letters home; we went to school on the cusp on the e-mail explosion and everything we did was measured in terms of all the impending convenience we would have. Don’t make a phone call, use e-mail. Television will be replaced by streaming video (which in our household has been true, thanks to Netflix). The snippets of conversations we used to have on the phone: can you take care of this for me, here you go, letting you know … those are all messages now and our writing has suffered for it.

I still write letters, at least in my head. We have a thousand different conversations, you and I, and of course no one has time for anything any more. The conveniences that we had thought would give us more leisure time only allow us to pack more into the same time; our habits aren’t any better. Having a laptop means firing it up on weekend nights and vacations to see what e-mails I might need to respond to and which fires I can put out remotely. There’s a thousand (the boy likes to say hundred, so I go one digit better, apparently) ways of keeping in touch and they all feel like leashes.

I prefer longer e-mails to short; there’s more room for precision and you can be concise but exact, if need be. I confuse short responses as snippy and rushed, although I don’t know for sure that’s what’s meant (it probably isn’t, you know). I’m going to have to get back to drawing again and making patterns out of nothing and all of everything else. These are the tools I employ most and you can’t fault them for happening.



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