My wise soul sister talks to me about the importance of connecting to words. Beyond just licking fingertips to flip pages. Beyond even the recognition of finding oneself within the lines.
She tells me that if I am moved, I should say something. As a writer, I know how solitary this process can be. A lot of thinking, cataloguing, noticing, noting. A lot of writing, typing, choosing to be alone over being with others. So when I am moved, inspired in such a way that I weep trees out of my body, then I should really let that writer know.
The first time I contacted a writer, I was living in Brooklyn (the first time). I recall sitting at my roommate’s communal computer, writing out the words that had been oozing out of me. I first read Kim Addonizio several years earlier after an older poet friend shared her work with me. When I picked her up again, I felt the reek of erotism from her poems pull at me. Even if she didn’t write back, I knew I had no choice but to write her. And. She wrote back.
A few years later, I was feeling ghostly. My body was sitting inside classrooms for an overpriced degree that just wasn’t doing it for me. It’s kind of like pursuing the most attractive person in a bar (or the most sober, cost-effective one with a rolling admission). And that person accepts you without hesitation. And you’re in. And you’re into each other.
Until their first word. And you notice their breath or odd jargon or or or. So, I was feeling uninspired and I sought out a writer/ performer/ beast I once saw in a land I used to live in. And this letter was long. And I wasn’t quite sure it would be answered. And. I heard back. This beast has been my mentor ever since.
Recently, I came across a writer who tore the hair out of my legs. This writer boiled my sweat and caused me to think even further about sexuality than I have been already. She turned me on, while also making me want to do the butterfly stroke inside my tears. I think about sending her a letter, but it just needs to be perfect…because what if I don’t get a letter back this time.
The thing is, it doesn’t matter. We need to be writing these letters. We need to tell these writers what we feel, the traffic accident on our bodies after reading their words.
If you wrote a poem or a sentence after reading something I wrote, I want to know. Because I am sitting in a metal chair, hunched over– occasionally aware that I should straighten my back– with a brown, borrowed blanket wrapped around my waist. I am typing on a computer held on a slab of wood, which was free because it was from the scrap pile at the hardware store on fifth avenue. I stained it red, then painted it in puffs of multi-colored paint on my rooftop, which is no longer mine because I no longer live at that particular address. To my right, is a see-through mug with earl grey tea interrupted with honey. To my left is a tall window illuminated by a string of purple lights purchased for $2 from my soul sister’s stoop sale. It is silent here, until I interrupt it with my voice or hear the slurp of tea plunge down my throat.
I could use a letter. I think we all could.