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circles of words

June 17, 2015

I like looking at my own blog(s), and re-reading my own words, often. Not just because (I think) they’re well-written, but because they’re a reminder that I exist. That I’ve done something tangible in the world.

I keep waiting for one of my Twitter-friends to say they like my writing, but they don’t ever say that. (Some of them have said they like my photographs, and other art forms. But not my writing.)

Spouse likes my writing in general, but he doesn’t read my blogs.


I like re-reading letters I’ve sent people because they remind me that I exist. That I have felt connected to people in the past, even if we’re not still connected. Plus, I think I’m a good writer.


Sometimes I write letters to people whom I’m not sure I can still claim any connection to. And then I have to debate myself about whether I should send them.

The act of flinging them into space, with the hope they might land at the feet of someone who wants to read them/was hoping to hear from me… it’s almost an irresistible fantasy. Because of it, I’ve sent many letters I probably shouldn’t have.

Besides Spouse and Gramma, I don’t think anyone, ever, has looked forward to receiving a letter from me.

Which has shaped my writing as well. If writing to family members, the shorter I can make it, the better. One page is ideal, but I often can’t condense that far and still feel I’m covering everything essential. But every line on a second or third page, I know makes it likelier that they’re just gonna throw the whole thing in the trash, maybe even before they read it.


Sometimes when I was younger (and still in nominal contact with everyone in my family), I used to disguise my handwriting on the envelope… trying to minimize the odds that they’d know it was from me, and just throw it away unopened.

Or, I’d send postcards, because they’re so small.

And with a postcard, maybe the mail carrier might read it. So then I exist.


The summer I was 18, my family went to Europe for a vacation. I was slowly developing a weird relationship with a boy I liked (or at least, that’s what I thought was happening). My parents forbade me to tell him before we left that we were going anywhere, in case someone might rob our house. So after a certain point, I had to be very vague about plans.

When we got there, I hatched this plan of sending him postcards. It was SO ENJOYABLE, OMG, that I gradually got to the point of sending him a postcard almost every day.

{I really really wish I’d sent those postcards to myself — what a great trip journal that would have been.}

My father remonstrated with me, several times, saying I was being really inappropriate. It was really frustrating that he didn’t even try to understand what was so important to me about doing it.

When we got back, the boy himself never said anything to me about the postcards. But I heard from kids in his neighborhood that he’d hung all of them up, showcasing them on his bedroom wall. I thought that was proof that he liked me; I thought he was just shy.

In retrospect, of course, he didn’t like me. I don’t know why he spent as much time with me as he did, but maybe he had nothing better to do.

I still think about those postcards sometimes. I wonder what ever happened to them. I wish I had them.


I’ve sent postcards to (multiple) family members with multiple-choice questions on them, so all they’d have to do is circle something, or write in a small answer.

That way, I could receive mail from family members, even though no one likes writing to me.

Since I wrote the questions, I knew I’d be interested in the answers. But… mostly people made excuses for why they refused to send them back. I was trying to get to know them better! Trying to find out where our tastes might overlap!

I guess helping me get to know you is too much bother.


It’s hard not to feel like maybe I shouldn’t exist. Maybe there was some kind of mistake. Maybe I’m a mistake. Of some sort.


If only someone liked my writing.

So I re-read my own writing, and I tell myself nice things about it.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Kathleen Avins permalink
    June 17, 2015 15:54

    I like your writing, and I am glad that you write.

  2. Sue T permalink
    June 17, 2015 19:17

    I like your writing, most of the time! (Sometimes I’m busy and don’t pay attention. Also, someone else’s dreams are often confusing to me. But I think you have interesting questions and insights.)
    As a pre-teen (in the late 1950’s or early 1960’s), I had a Japanese pen-pal for a couple of years. It was something kids often used to do, long before the Internet. I don’t think either of us had a clue about really trying to be friends, but I also think we enjoyed writing and getting letters for a while. I, too, wish I had our letters now, at least for insights about me at that age (a confusing time).
    I like the multiple choice post card idea.

    • June 17, 2015 20:29

      Thank you for saying so.

      I had several long-distance friendships as a kid where we wrote to each other. When I saw them, I often didn’t know how to act around them. Spouse and I met as pen pals, though, so it can work.

      I wish you had your own letters back too. I wonder if your old friend still has them?

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