yours ever [books // real mail]

a few years ago i sat down in a cramped, teal-green riverwest bedroom intending to continue a myspace 'conversation' i'd been having with my not-yet girlfriend, mauriah. having typed a few lines, i stopped short, not feeling invested in it. i realized that i'd shot my mouth off about enjoying writing letters but had yet to follow through (nevermind that we lived three blocks apart). so i drew a mock-up of the myspace message creation page and wrote a letter instead. there was no way of knowing then the trials and miles and travails and mails we'd survive in the coming months and years - largely buoyed by writing letters.

our pen pal partnership transcended daily email and occasional video phone calls as a series of tactile, genuine articles. daily ruminations, found items, coffee rings and the hopes of early mornings mingled with doodles, cut out pictures, work frustrations, and full-color descriptions of the minutia of moments. often the envelopes were handmade. occasionally letters were lost, always to much cursing and despair (on my end, at least). during one stretch, 3 of m's letters in a row were eaten by the mail, leaving me to wonder why 7,500 miles away she'd not been writing. after a time i asked about it and she told me she'd been writing. a few days later, two of the road-weary letters showed up postmarked weeks apart. i almost cried.

i am fortunate to be happily enveloped[!] in a relationship that owes much to real letters. i believe in them. no surprise then, that i'm very keen to get a copy of thomas mallon's latest, yours ever: people and their letters. excerpts from the nytimes review below.
think of a letter, ralph waldo emerson urged his daughter, as “a kind of picture of a voice.” (thomas) mallon recognizes letters as well to be monuments, marathons, performance art. he neglects neither ann landers nor the unabomber. by way of unexpected detours...he delivers up epistolary swooning, stroking, wincing, mulling, composting... is next to impossible to read these pages without mourning the whole apparatus of distance, without experiencing a deep and plangent longing for the airmail envelope, the sweetest shade of blue this side of a tiffany box. is it possible to sound crusty or confessional electronically? it is as if text and e-mail messages are of this world, a letter an attempt, however illusory, to transcend it. all of which adds tension and resonance to mallon’s pages, already crackling with hesitations and vulnerabilities, obsessions and aspirations, with reminders of the lost art of literary telepathy, of the aching, attenuated rhythm of a written correspondence. (full article)

(yes, those pictures are some of our actual collected correspondence.)

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