Dear Crazy Ells,
Sorry for responding to your text last week with silence. Also my apologies for leaving your lovely poem hanging in our messenger chat. I'm busy. I also find responding to friends overwhelming. Fuck it - I find life overwhelming. There's so much to see. So much to do. So little time. Sometimes I feel like a poor kid who, instead of paying, ducked the ticketing booth at Disneyland; if I keep running, I have maybe half-an-hour more until security finds me and hauls me out of here.
"How are you?", you asked last week. Today I am sick. However, mentally I am stable - maybe even good. B and I have been working on the house - jacking one corner and then replacing the skirt where the water has rotted the wood. I've also been re-insulating the crawl space. I've learned a lot, though I often feel paralyzed by a lack of understanding paired with contradictory advice from various carpenter (or want-to-be carpenter) friends.
What does that have to do with my mental state? Well, it's draining to have an ongoing project every weekend - even if I only put a couple hours in each day. And then there's the other obligations: the friends, the family, the dreams, the kid. I also have to contend with a lack of money. The latter concern has led me to pursue other job opportunities. I've applied for two positions and I've been interviewed for one. Both should offer significant pay raises - which is good for me and good for the family. I've told you about these job stresses before but that was back in the planning stages of the move. Now there's boots on the ground.
The wind brings good words about your life. Writing a novel I hear? Planning the southern bachelor party of our mutual friend? My neighbour says that you're doing well - maybe the best he's ever heard from you. I wonder if you feel the same way. I hope you do.
I'd love to know more about this writing project you've undertaken. What's the major inspiration? I sure hope it's nothing too experimental - but I'd read anything you'd write.
I discovered our old blog; the one you wrote a post for and I wrote zilch. I'm thinking of submitting a review for Blood Meridian. You ever read it? It's a strange one. It's got colossal literary hype. It gets compared to Paradise Lost and Moby Dick. I expected violence and weird language going in - you are familiar with McCarthy of course - but it still surprise me. It's absolutely filled with petty ultra-violence and it's written in a way that a good deal of sentences feel backward - as if the normal relations between clauses are mixed up. I can't say I felt anything when I finished it and I copied very few quotes in my notebook.
Yet, it's haunting me. And that's good, because the stuff I want to read, the stuff that I consider great art, is the stuff that stays in your brain years later. I think those books have a way of affecting your life because they're always there - like a hallucination that you can never shake. I want to read stuff that sticks like a stubborn sliver.
Anyway, I wanted to write more, but I'm off to bed. BW likes me to sleep at a decent time and that's a good thing. She lashes to me the mast and makes sure we stay the course.
One more thing that you might be wondering: why an open letter? Well, a 'letter letter' would be nice but a) my printing is revolting and b) it takes a damn while for a letter to mule down south - something I learned when I wrote G. Also, it's fun speaking in code to mask our identities from the internet. Finally, I hope this format engenders clearer writing. There's potentially an infinite audience for this letter, so some standards of grammar and clarity are required.
Good night, and good luck.
Your black crow of a friend,
PS If you're looking for a philosopher to check out, hit up Simone Weil. She's wrote bangers like the following:
There is something in our soul that loathes true attention much more violently than flesh loathes fatigue. That something is much closer to evil than flesh is. That is why, every time we truly give our attention, we destroy some evil in ourselves.
In times like these, those are words to live by.