Loose End Letters

These blogs are gaining in readers; thanks! Looking back, I see I’ve left some stories unfinished. My lawnmower trying to kill me, crone sexuality, the oh-so-late publishing schedules, my still ill mother. I’ll get to them, eventually. I try to write exactly five hundred words per blog. Honestly, that goofy exercise makes this fun for me.

For starters, I want to follow up on my life of letters. Oddball memories keep floating up. I wrote early on in this blog about my six-year-old self writing to my grandma, so letter-writing goes way back. (Ready, Set, Blog; January 2012) I’ve been remembering how many letters to the editor, and fundraising appeals, I have crafted. Others’ fundraising letters come to me; I once had a collage, heart-shaped, of appeals from political entities. I made it after I received in the mail fundraising letters signed by my sister Sushawn, for her political organization (I think it was Crossroads journal then…)

Traditionally, Quakers write “Espistles” as a group, to tell other Friends about their annual gatherings. The first time I heard these letters read aloud, including ones written by small children, my spirit found a safe harbor.

1982: during a snow-bound winter, I wrote to a distant lover, telling of my white solitude high in the mountains. One night, pounding at my bus door — this darling fellow had hitched-hiked and then hiked six miles through two feet of snow, drawn by my letters to him. At the other end of that same doomed relationship, I was back in those mountains with a broken-down vehicle, depressed, done with men, drowning in unseasonable summer rains. After I wrote to a girlfriend, venting my frustrations, she drove eight hours across the mountain passes to visit. We laughed ourselves totally silly, way past my depression. She kept quoting from my ridiculously mad letter. “What truck? What men? What weather?”

1980: I wrote a graceful heart-felt letter to Dale See, the owner of the Port Orchard Tavern. I had quit my bartender job, gone to the mountains for a summer of novel writing (also as a way of separating carefully from my common-law marriage. We owned our farmhouse jointly and we needed some time and space to sort ourselves out.) I wrote to Dale to let him know that his managing bartender was damaging the business with her destructive drunken behaviors. Probably he already knew that, but I felt a youthful righteousness, a need to let him know. I didn’t plan on returning to the tavern; after all, the advantage of such a disposable non-career job is the freedom to move on. Late that summer, I got a thank you letter from the Sees, letting me know the old alky had “retired,” and inviting me back to bartending. A year later, they asked me to house-sit for several months. Great timing; I was needing safe shelter, after giving up on living in my schoolbus by a beautiful iced-over lake. My take-away lesson: sincere letters are always worth writing.


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