Since my youth, I have enjoyed thoroughly the practice of letter-writing. Writing letters has been constant part of my life. It is a practice and art that I hold dear – serving as a vehicle for fellowship in my life as well as a vehicle for change.
One of the first letters I recall writing was to Angela Lansbury. I was a very young child at that time, and I still have a copy of the hand-written letter, written in the comedic fashion of my childhood self, in which I invite her to visit my grandmother’s condo in Jupiter, Florida. How gracious and ridiculous of me. Too many hours dancing and singing along to Bedknobs and Broomsticks, I suppose. The mission, though, was noble. I wrote to share my soul– to express kindness and love.
Another early letter I recall writing took place on a typewriter; in it I dictated to my parents a very strongly-worded call-to-action, demanding that they stop engaging in an argument. I tried to use reason in this letter, as well as my demanding, dramatic style, ordering them to find a middle ground and to see how each had hurt the other. In this instance, I wrote to empower myself– to feel less helpless and to teach my parents.
The above examples translate easily into the letter-writing practice in which I continue to engage. I do, indeed, write letters for these same underlying reasons today, and I continue the tradition of my youth in various ways.
Thus, I have reserved on this web site a space for public letters to be shared. Any letters I write will fall into either the the first category (to express – love) or the second category (to educate – and enact change).
Letters are meant to be read. They are, therefore, inherently public entities. To write is a public act, even when it is done in private. It is an exercise in communication. As such, it is a redundancy to call letters ‘public letters.’ A most worthy and deliberate redundancy!
The ancient tradition and art of letter writing, which begins (for me) with Sappho and her decimated letters-turned-poems-songs-and-fragments, must continue if Sapphic hexistence is to persist.