The Letter Project

December 18, 2011

Special Delivery (163)

Filed under: Letters — Theresa Williams @ 7:01 pm
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8 December 2011

Dear Whitney,

I think we should do a little research on Kerouac’s biography, like the big events of his life, read “On the Road,” and then read the letters. I like to know about the writer’s personal life before reading because the book is richer for seeing what details pop up in the narrative. Maybe we should finish the novel before starting the letters.

That’s a great quote from the novel. I don’t think we choose to be unhappy. I think there are some people who choose to let life get them down and be cynical about life. Yes, life sucks at times. Yes, there are good times. Yes, it’s not possible to be happy all the time. But experiencing everything the world has to offer? I’ll choose that. And that is what the Savage says to me in this passage. I want to experience the highs and lows of life. Then I can write about those experiences and try to understand what life is trying to teach me. I am not perfect in using this approach, but after I’ve calmed down and enough time has passed, I ask myself what I learned. Like this semester was the semester from hell for me. Time was always an issue and getting enough sleep was a serious problem. So what did I learn? I tend to overwork myself. Why? I’m still not sure. Probably striving for perfection and doing everything I possibly can, test my limits. But I did learn to fine tune my time management skills and exactly how filthy I’m willing to live before breaking down and cleaning my apartment. Much dirtier than I expected.

I have imagined the world as a perfect place. I aim for perfection knowing full well that I won’t reach it, no matter how hard I try. I think if people were reading in heaven, they wouldn’t be able to relate to the characters having problems other than feeling sympathy the entire time. Oh poor dear, if only he lived here, his girlfriend wouldn’t leave him in such a quandary, etc. In high school my teacher gave us a choice to write about what we would do if we were in heaven or hell. I chickened out and wrote about heaven (plenty of time to read and write, cook great meals—yum). I regret not writing about hell, but I did think of it. Imagining it today is still pretty scary. Every fear I have is present and more so.

I admire you sitting down and taking the pill and working so hard to do it. I will have to try that the next time I have to take pills. Hopefully that will help. I hate sitting still. I always have to do something. It’s funny that you have to be dragged to hospitals too! I was in them too often as a kid for my parents’ and other relatives’ ailments, so when I scratched my eye sophomore year and sprained my finger this year, I willingly went to the ER, although hours after I should have. At least I went.

My finger is doing better. It doesn’t hurt as much as it used to. When I saw the doctor for an upper respiratory infection (another rare occurrence—commence with the dragging!) he broke his thumb rollerblading. I have valued my hands for years because I write, play piano, knit, crochet and so on. Without my hands I can’t do what I love. I’m like Wing Biddlebaum in “Winesburg, Ohio.” Using my hands is how I express myself. I finished reading “Show Up, Look Good” and started “The Winter’s Tales.” I want to share “The Young Man with the Carnation” with you. I’ll loan you my copy. I’ve never read anything by Stephen King except “On Writing,” so I’m going to start “Carrie” and finish “Where She Went” by Gayle Foreman.

My Thanksgiving was good. I got caught up on NaNo and had some great leftovers. I hope yours was good too! I do have a lot of siblings—three older half siblings and two younger full siblings. Holidays tend to be weird in general because two of my older siblings have kids and in-laws to spend time with, and with my sister in Dayton, me in BG and my brothers in Columbus, get-togethers have to be planned carefully to accommodate so many schedules. It didn’t work out this year, but maybe Christmas will.

Envelopes can be tricky. Sometimes folding the letters gets complicated for me. I learned from an old boss to have the salutation on top, which makes me think twice when I need to fold something. Sometimes I rebel.

Christmas break—I want to read and write a lot, get caught up on my yarn projects and sleep! How about you? I don’t think it’s weird to enjoy sending out cards and wrapping presents. I love picking out gifts for people and seeing their reactions when I hand it to them. That joy is fantastic to keep in memory.

How did NaNo go for you? Did you make neat discoveries? I know Charlotte’s love interest Paul really surprised me with how he proposed to her. He made a scrapbook of her pregnancy and slipped a unique ring for her on the last page. I love it when characters surprise me. What books would you recommend others to read? We should exchange a list of our favorite novels. Luckily you’ve already read one of mine. Your letter found me in good spirits and even lifted them! I hope this letter lifts yours.

Suzy

P.S. The monster was fun to draw:) I’m not much of an artist, but it’s fun sometimes to depict images instead of describe them.

P.P.S. You did a great job at your BFA reading. I loved the story! Oh Faulkner and burning barns. Factories are better.

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