Letters

<July 22/13> I am a woman of letters.[1]

By which I mean, I’ve always been a letter writer. As long as I’ve been able to read & write, I’ve been writing letters.

As a kid I wrote to a good friend who lived up in the Laurentians, north of Montreal. We were close friends & had a ton of fun together as young girls. How I loved visiting her family’s wonderful home in its spectacular setting (on their own lake, no less!). The letters, alas, are long gone. (Nomad ladies must part with quite a bit, as frequent travellers. Travelling “light” & all that.)

Later on it was “love letters.” Letters to the editor. (Gracious sakes I wrote a lot of those! I bet there were people who wished I’d just shut the heck up.)

  • Letters to politicians
  • Letters to the men in my life
  • Letters to my daughters
  • Letters to Rebecca…

 

Oh. & letters to writers, too. Several of those. Sometimes nothing would do but that I write someone whose book or books I’d enjoyed so much I just had to write & let them know. (Even got a response from Kurt Vonnegut, one of my very long-time favourite writers! Not handwritten, typed on a typewriter. Heartfelt. Very special.   & a nice postcard from Anne Tyler. Such a delight.  )

I’ve been thinking about writing some more letters to the men in my life – some of them living, some of them “passed on,” as we so delicately put it.

I won’t mail them (to the living or the dead) – they’re really just for me.

To maybe help me sort out a few things. (There is always more to figure out, isn’t there??)

With luck, get a little more “closure” on a couple relationships that ended badly. 

I guess it would be fair to say I’ve had a “checkered” relationship with men in my life – right from my father on down. Men really do seem to me to live in another Universe altogether, pretty much.

Elizabeth Lesser says in Broken Open - How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow (one of my top favourite books ever) ... "Nothing about my journey from unconscious girl to full-fledged woman felt particularly graceful. In fact, it has been the gracelessness of my relationships with men that has broken, changed, and transformed me more than any other life experience."

And I guess I would have to say “Ditto” to that sentiment.

My relationships with women are numerous, joyful, fertile, life-affirming.

The ones with men?? Hmmmm. Considerably more nuanced, shall we just very politely say.

Still, always, trying to figure out all that “Mars & Venus” stuff. And not doing all that well at it, seemingly…  Still trying, though! 

Janet 

p.s. a week later: got the letters done. Feels like a weight off my shoulders. Glad I did it.  

p.p.s. I ought to have added that I've just finished reading a quite mind-blowing book called I Don't Want to Talk About It - Overcoming The Secret Legacy of Male Depression, by Terrence Real. Not kidding when I call it a mind-blower!! There is a review of the book here. Yet another book that everybody & her cousin really ought to read...

‘Quote of the day’ with this post: “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” – Dr. Seuss 

Some random bonus ones: “Damn what anybody thinks of you – do what’s right. It’s really fun.” – Lucy Lawless, N. Z. actor & activist arrested with 6 Greenpeace activists on Save the Arctic campaign (from Sierra magazine Jan/Feb. 2013)

“I wonder if what makes a family a family isn’t doing everything right all the time but, instead, giving a second chance to the people you love who do things wrong.” – Jodi Piccoult in her novel Lone Wolf

“The greatest joy in nature is the absence of man.” – Bliss Carman, Canadian poet (1861-1929)

“Predominant opinions are generally the opinions of the generation that is vanishing.” – Benjamin Disraeli, British Prime Minister (1804-81)

“Those who know the truth are not the same as those who love it.” – Confucius

“It is one of the beautiful compensations of life, that no man can sincerely help another without helping himself.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson



[1] Defined by the Free Dictionary as “A woman who is devoted to literary or scholarly pursuits.” Which of course is not the sense of meaning I have in mind at all.