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October 01, 2014

Overnight Open Thread -- 10-01-2014: Sentimental Dork Edition

Dear 'Rons 'n 'Ettes,

It was so nice to correspond with you again earlier this week, I felt compelled to take to my keyboard yet again and compose another missive in a futile effort to gain your approval. And since your usual contributor to this space has abandoned you to the grubby clutches of a menagerie of guest-bloggers in favor of people in far-flung, exotic lands, I find myself presented with an opportunity to horn in on his action.

The thing is, I'm not a very interesting guy. That's why I'm not the one out globetrotting and hobnobbing with foreign grandees. Thus, I'm relegated to pecking away at this crumb-laden keyboard from a tumbledown hovel in western Kentucky, all by my lonesome. But that doesn't mean I can't make some worthy contribution to this long-revered institution known as the AoSHQ ONT. If nothing else, I can serve as the counter-example to all the things we should aspire to be.

Believe it or not, I haven't always been this way. I mean, I've always been boring; I just haven't always been self-aware enough to know it. In fact, I once harbored the fatuous notion that I actually had something to say that warranted being recorded in print. It's true. I honestly had the gall to dream of someday being a writer. And, while that seems silly given the benefit of hindsight, I still derive pleasure from playing around with the written word from time to time. It's as much a compulsion as it is a delusion.

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” ― Ernest Hemingway

“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.” ― Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

“Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.” ― E.L. Doctorow

If I had to pin down the origin of my inclination toward writing as a pursuit, I'd have to say it goes back to my early teens, when I whiled away a good bit of my free time composing letters to friends. One of those friends was the girl I considered at the time to be the unrequited love of my life, to whom I once wrote a letter in which I opened a vein that spilled out (if I recall correctly) nearly a dozen college-rule pages of handwritten ardor for her. And, while that love remained unrequited, I never regretted writing it or sending the letter. I do regret falling out of the habit of letter-writing over the years, though.

In an age of electronic everything and instant access to information, I, more than anything in the world, LOVE getting handwritten letters in the mail.

With the introduction of internet though, everything just seems a little bit less personal. There are a lot of wonderful people in my life that unfortunately live far away, and they all deserve a nice, handwritten piece of love … let me see if I can find my pen …

In one of those nostalgic fugues that seem to strike more and more often as I wend my way through my fifth decade of life, I got to thinking the other day about what I gained from writing all those letters. It's not an easy thing to quantify beyond vague, somewhat romantic notions of "personal growth" -- whatever the hell that means. But, there is something undeniably gratifying about making the effort to commit pen to paper for the sole purpose of recording your thoughts and sending them to a person you've been thinking about.

Sadly, the handwritten letter is quickly becoming a lost art -- at least if my experience is indicative of contemporary life in general. Though, you never know what's going to be the next trend. It could come roaring back; in which case, here's a brief etiquette guide.

The best letters will share news and information, mix good with bad news, respond to the questions asked or news shared in a previous letter, and ask about the recipient. Include only information you would be happy for others to see. It is more likely that a mailed letter will stay private; e-mailed ones can easily be forwarded inadvertently or intentionally.

Letters Best Left Unwritten

  • Woe-is-me: A letter full of misfortune and unhappiness won’t give your reader pleasure and will leave him or her worried or depressed.

  • Tell-all: There’s nothing wrong with pouring your heart out in a letter, but providing too many intimate details could eventually lead to embarrassment.

  • Gossip: It’s wrong to tell everything you know about someone’s trials and tribulations, so check your impulse to share.

  • Anger: Bitter spoken words fade away, but written words stay on a page forever. Put a letter written in anger aside before sending it. Go back later and maybe you’ll soften the tone or decide not to send it.

By way of example of the "Letters Best Left Unwritten" -- [contains highly NSFW language]:
I know the counsellor said we shouldn’t contact each other during our “cooling off” period but I couldn’t wait anymore.

The day you left, I swore I’d never talk to you again but that was just the wounded little boy in me talkin. Still, I never wanted to be the first one to make contact. In my fantasies, it was always you who would come crawling back to me. I guess my pride needed that. But now I see that my pride’s cost me a lot of thing. I’m tired of pretending I don’t miss you. I don’t care about looking bad anymore.I don;t care who makes the first move as long as one of us does. Maybe it’s time we let our hearts speak as loudyly as our hurt.

This is what my heart says: “There’s no one like you, Connie. I look for you in the eyes and breasts of every woman I see, but they’re not you. They’re not even close.

Two weeks ago, I met this girl at Flamingos and brought her home with me. I don’t say this to hurt you, just to illustrate hte depth of my desperation She was young, maybe 19; with one of those perfect bodies that only youth and maybe a childhood spent ice skating can give you. I mean, just a perfect body.

From there, it just gets brutal. Buh-RU-tuhl.

So, with that little bit of guidance on what not to do, I just wanted to encourage those of you among the Moron Horde who may have some past experience with writing personal letters to consider revisiting it. And to those of you whose experience with correspondence is limited to email and texting, you might want to give it a try. I can promise you it's a good deal more rewarding as both the sender and the recipient.

And with all the maudlin exhortations out of the way, allow me to share a photo I took recently of a friend of mine. And, yes -- it was taken with her knowledge and permission.

Tonight's ONT is sponsored by the United States Postal Service.

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posted by Damn Dirty RINO at 10:30 PM

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