Showing posts with label letters. Show all posts
Showing posts with label letters. Show all posts

open letter to my would-be identity thief

To Whom I Should Be Concerned About,

Thank you for your recent interest in assuming my identity. As by now you're probably aware, my financial institution has unfortunately decided to reject your offer of anonymous proxy. I say "unfortunately" since, not having met you, I can't comment on whether this was a wise choice. Fact is, most days I rather suck at being me. You might very well have been better at it. Hurt fewer people, be more productive, cook more interesting meals - that sort of thing. Now we'll never know.

That is of course unless you decide to reapply, say, after a respectable interim? I can assure you that my bank is quite inept as a rule, and I expect any additional attempts at grift to slide by unnoticed. Indeed I remain shocked this one even caught their eye.

However, should you wish to take another stab at defrauding me, might I make one small suggestion? Sign me up for better websites. I understand you must be terribly busy, but I cannot emphasize enough the importance of getting to know your intended victim. And I, dear sir or madam, am no Christian. In fact there are few places online that hold less interest for me than ChristianMingle.com. For future reference, I've taken the liberty of compiling a short list of sites I'm more likely to be found browsing:

FistAndMingle.com, the web's premier destination for brachiovaginal-curious singles

ChristianMangle.com, containing a comprehensive photo archive of ancient Colosseum bloodsporting events

CrispinMingle.com, where Crispin Glover fans can connect over their love of this multi-talented actor, director, recording artist, publisher, and author!

ChristieDingle.com, fundraising home of presidential hopeful Chris Christie's fecal conservative supporters

Thanks again for taking the time to briefly, if unsuccessfully, impersonate me online. As a blogger, I sustain myself emotionally on the supposition that everyone wants to be me. I appreciate you confirming my suspicion!

Until next time,
Ellie

---

dear mr. prydz

Dear Mr. Prydz,

Should my shameless, NSFW Twitter plea lead you here, please know that I am a massive fan who is more than willing to purchase tickets for your Halloween show, but the club at which you're performing is being a little cheeky about sales. Meanwhile, resellers on StubHub are asking about a bajillion dollars, and as you can see, I can't even afford pants. Take pity on a girl?

If you're feeling generous, I can be reached at elliequent@me.com

Love,
Ellie

p.s. You should know I'm opening myself up to some serious fucking snark for this, but you are worth it.

p.p.s I have my Halloween costume ready. It's homemade!

charm

message to self -

Remember that words sometimes come more easily to you than truth does, and in writing, the shortest distance between two points isn't always the most honest one. Take a little more time, get a little closer to the truth. 

Eloquence without authenticity is just a pretty face charming you past her lack of substance.

deadbolt

The ocean tried to follow me home tonight. Did you notice? I didn't want to say anything, didn't want to distract you while you drove. But I wondered if you saw it in the rear view mirror, black and surging and foamy with hate. I guess I know what it wanted. I guess sometimes I want the same thing.

It kept up with us a good while. I could hear it, even though I didn't turn around. Flooding the highway, waves crashing and tumbling over one another in desperation to catch me once and for all. It must be tired of getting so close each time. It must wish I'd be more realistic.

But then you said something, I don't know what it was, but it was like that moment when a sail unfurls, snap! and the wind slams into it, and we picked up speed like a boat on the water, except this water we left behind, because all of a sudden we were flying. And that's how we got home.

I don't think it knows exactly where I live. I think I'm safe. But I'll deadbolt the door and check over my shoulder for the next few days, just to be sure. Chaucer will keep an eye out, too. He already knows to.

Anyway, that's why I was quiet tonight, in the car. The ocean tried to follow me home.

in the door

Well fuck you, then, because really I was just sitting here minding my own business, feeling pretty good in fact, for reasons you wouldn't understand, because it's your job to make people miserable.

It's a box. It's just a stupid pink box, sitting on my kitchen island. I didn't look through it. I'm not a fool. It's way too close to Thanksgiving. I only took it down last night because someone who is still here and alive and with me wanted to see what I looked like as a kid. That's the only reason the box is out.

So I showed him. And he smiled. And I saw that smile, alive and warm on his face right next to me on the couch. Did I mention the alive part? And I leafed right past all the other pictures, I didn't even glance at them. It's November 7th.

But they're there in the pink box, which is still sitting on the counter, right in my line of sight, and that's enough. That's all it takes, for you to get your foot in the door, isn't it? You sneaky fucking bastard.

Fuck you, I'm going to bed. 

roachmate

To my new roommate:

Welcome to loft 712! I trust you're settling in nicely, and finding your new surroundings clean, comfortable, and cozy. I'm going to assume that this isn't your first experience with co-habitation; my understanding is that your species tends to reside in large numbers, typically in sewers, subways, and the dumpsters behind C-grade restaurants. I hope you find my apartment as agreeable as those quarters!

Anyway, I'm sure you're familiar with the need to establish some basic ground rules between roommates, for the sake of both parties. Which is why I took the liberty of drawing up a short list of "roomie requests" with which I hope you won't mind complying. And please - if you have a similar list for myself, I'd be happy to look it over, though I will ask that you write as large as possible.

1. I saw when you came in that you immediately gravitated to the area underneath my dishwasher and kitchen sink. I think that's an excellent place for you; you'll have plenty of space and privacy for reading, knitting, gaming, or whatever leisure activities you engage in. I only ask that if either myself or my dog enters the kitchen, that you not come scurrying out to greet us. We startle easily, and might accidentally step on you, or try to eat you, or drop whatever encyclopedia-sized book we're carrying on you. And since you left the emergency contact section of your lease application blank, I wouldn't know how to reach your loved ones should you get hurt.

2. My bed is completely off limits. Please do not come anywhere near it at any time of day or night, even if I am out. I cannot stress enough my need for you to respect this boundary. In fact, should you violate this very important rule, your security deposit will be immediately forfeited to help defray the cost of my subsequent therapy.

3. On those rare occasions that I have company, please please please stay completely out of sight. You seem like a really lovely arthropod, and please don't take my disinclination to socialize personally. It's just that some of my friends - while I love them! - are a little bit sanctimonious about dumb things like "sanitary living conditions" and "health codes." I wouldn't want any of them to say something in your presence that might hurt your feelings.

4. No parties allowed whatsoever. In fact, I'd prefer it if you didn't invite any of your friends over, ever.

5. No:
  • smoking
  • curtain climbing
  • swimming in the toilet
  • napping in my shoes
  • music after 10pm (NPR ok)
6. Finally, please do not download any porn onto my computer, which you are otherwise welcome to use (wifi password: NUCLEARFALLOUT). 

Okay, I think that about covers it! As I said above, if you have any requests of your own, just let me know. I'm confident that, despite being such very different creatures, we can peacefully coexist until the exterminator comes on Monday indefinitely.

Warmly, 

Your new flatmate, Ellie

poser

Oh my god. Please stop talking. Please stop trying so hard. You're making my brain bleed.

Your chaos is not sexy. Do you think you look tough? Do you think you are cool? Dangle the cigarette out a little further, please. I can't wait to watch it fall on your foot. I can't wait to watch you hop and howl, your candy shell broken momentarily.

You think you wear your attitude like an expensive accessory, but my god, what a cheap and ugly knockoff they sold you. It's embarrassing for all of us. Check the inner pocket for some self-awareness.

You're not a big fish. You probably never will be. Those aren't accomplishments; they're variations of font and color. No one is fooled, you idiot.

This is Los Angeles.

You are no one.

Strip away the decoration and your talent sums to zero. 

No one asked you. And that's what you hate the most, isn't it? Being left out.  

Stop taking yourself so goddamned seriously, please. You're not a Hunter S. Thompson character. Chill the fuck out and smile once in a while.

Or don't. Stay at the cool kids' table and cast disparaging looks around you while you write refrigerator magnet poetry. We really don't give a shit. We were fine before we knew you existed, and we'll forget you in five minutes' time. 

This is Los Angeles. 

You are no one.

opinionated person is opinionated

Ugh, I can't believe I'm giving this any play, but whatever.

Someone on the internets has a different opinion than me. It's the same person who holds this alarmingly lax and ignorant attitude towards the exposure of naked children on the internet. I'm quoting her post below; my responses are in red.

I read Elliequent's blog (she is a skilled and rather lyrical writer, so I enjoy reading the blog even though she has some serious psychological issues). LOL. How nice. If only I was in better company. She is "childfree" (aka someone with no children who's self-righteous about it), which in itself doesn't bother me at all. No, clearly not. That must be why you put the term in scare quotes. Incidentally, "childfree" is the term that confident and reasonable adults have adopted when engaging in this conversation, since "childless" both implies a lack we don't feel and, more importantly, is the specific designation for people that DO want to have children, but cannot for whatever reason. When someone insists on using the term "childless", that suggests to me their need to believe I'm lacking in some way due to my choice to not to procreate. Trust me. I'm not. It was and is a deliberate choice. But hey, whatever makes you feel better. It's great that people know what they want (no kids) and are willing to pursue it despite societal judgment and expectations. Good for them! Societal judgment and expectations weigh extremely heavily on me, as you can tell by the openness with which I talk about things like depression, sex, drug use, and atheism. 

But her post about how she is entitled to give other people (strangers) parenting advice is truly horrible.  It sort of encapsulates all the worst stereotypes about non-parents: their ignorance of children and everything pertaining to them, their self-righteous "I could do it better" attitude (thus the joke "I was a great parent before I had kids"), their idea that they are so helpful and considerate to parents (hahahahaha) Not even sure how to respond to that. But boy is there a lot of assumption going on, and a huge amount of mischaracterization of my post. It actually sounds like the only stereotyping that's going on is YOU stereotyping the childfree as knowing nothing about children. Clearly you've had some bad experiences with the childfree, that have embittered you in some way, because you sound really angry. That sucks. Maybe the fact that they were childfree had less to do with it than the fact that they were just assholes? Just a thought. And don't you think you're tarring me with that asshole brush, when you know NOTHING about my interactions with parents, and whether or not I am in fact helpful and considerate to them?  ...Just to complete the stereotype, she often refers to her dog as her child. I love this. I love when parents get SO FURIOUS when the childfree or childless or childwantingsomedays refer to their pets as their kids, or their babies, or whatever. What is that all about? I mean, you do know that we, um, realize that we're not biologically related to our pets, right? I really, really love my dog, but I didn't fall so head over heels for him that I lost my mind and now imagine he traveled through my birth canal and latched onto my breast afterward (WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN AWESOME). What is it that bothers you so much, about people playfully and affectionately referring to their pets as kids? I think that's more your issue than anything. Does it anger you to think that I could love my dog as much as you love your kid? Because how do you know I don't? And what difference does it make, anyway? Does the amount of love I have for my dog in any way detract from the amount of love you have for your kid? Or maybe it just pisses you off to think I could enjoy my relationship with my pet as much you enjoy your relationship with your child. But who the fuck cares, either way? IT'S NOT A COMPETITION, AND WHAT I CALL MY PET HAS NO BEARING ON YOUR HAPPINESS AS A PARENT, DOES IT? Maybe you should think about why that's a problem for you, Grace, or Amanda, or whatever your real name is (your blog has one name; your email had another). 

Actually, though, the post is a good learning opportunity. I tend to be judgmental and opinionated myself, with strongly held beliefs on all sorts of topics, including those about which I know almost nothing. This is a reminder of how obnoxious such an approach is, and how important it is for me to continue to strive for empathy, tolerance and understanding when making statements (or even thinking about issues). It doesn't come easily or naturally to me, but it is essential. Yes. Nothing says tolerance like mischaracterizing my post with a title that implies I gave "awful advice", when all I did was put a call out for parents not to exploit their kids' privacy on social media. Nothing says empathy like saying you enjoy my blog even though I have "serious psychological issues", as if talent and depression are mutually exclusive. Christ lady, did you miss the artistic output of the last five hundred years? 

Speaking of which: I need to cultivate such an attitude about Ellie herself (after all, she was expressing concern about children: a nice impulse in essence even if her execution was bad). I was so irritated by the post that after I read it I wrote her a long, critical email (she doesn't allow comments). This was probably a really bad idea (certainly not falling under the category of "What Would a Loving Empathetic Person Do?") and I am now rather regretting it. Good. Because that long, critical email was full of absurd assumptions, mischaracterizations of my argument, straw men, insincere over-dramatizations, and insults. And your second one was even worse. So maybe the post was also a good chance for me to think about improving my impulse control and emotional reactivity. Food for thought: I guess I owe Ellie thanks after all! Anytime.

---

Ok. We now return to our regularly scheduled mix bag of posts about festivals and doodz and sad days, shitty maudlin poetry, and esoteric short fiction. Thank you for your patience.

broken appointment

To Whom It May Concern,

Recently, I received a billing statement from the office of James M. Radeski, DDS, regarding an outstanding balance on the account of my father, Norman Baker.

(Precisely how recently I received this bill I'm afraid I cannot say, as sometime toward the end of last year, I established the temporarily anxiety-reducing if ultimately stress-compounding habit of depositing stacks of Norman's unopened mail in the rosewood sewing box on my sideboard. One can only field so many fundraising solicitations from the Tea Party Patriots and membership renewal reminders from the John Birch Society before one needs a respite from the tidings of the United States Postal Service.)

The sole item on this statement is noted as code D095: Broken Appointment.

It appears that my father missed his semi-annual teeth cleaning appointment, scheduled for October 4th, 2012.

May I just take a moment to say that my father had excellent teeth? He really did. They were lovely and straight, and very white, and he was rather vain about them. He brushed them fastidiously, often while roaming about the house in a state of semi-undress, Sonicare buzzing in his cheek, conducting half-garbled and largely incoherent conversations with myself and/or the cat.

I guess what I'm saying is, Dr. Radeski did fine work, where my father's dental health was concerned. Please convey my compliments.

But to return to the matter of the balance, I'm afraid that as my father passed away some five months prior to his October appointment, it would indeed have proven quite challenging for him to attend it.

I'm sorry, but if I could just interrupt this letter once more, I'd like to also say that my father was an extremely responsible and considerate man. He wasn't the type to miss engagements, ever, and was always respectful of other peoples' time.

I, on the other hand, am the type of person who stuffs unopened bills into sewing boxes, where they remain out of sight and out of mind for months on end. Consequently, I do hope that you'll consider this oversight my own, and not my father's. He'd really be pissed at me if you didn't, and while not a superstitious person, I've no wish to invite his posthumous temper anymore than I enjoyed the occasional glimpse of his living one.

As regards the $30 balance, I trust that the above revelation will be sufficient cause to clear the charge on my father's account. If you require a death certificate as proof of his demise, I can provide one, though I won't lie: I'd be grateful if you'd just take my word for it. Digging through my files to find the requisite document, carrying it by hand across the street to Kinko's, and staring dolefully at its contents while waiting for the fax machine to blast them into the digital ether - a routine I have already undertaken a couple dozen times in the past year - well, it kind of totally sucks.

Thank you for your time and understanding, and for your part in giving my father one of the most beautiful smiles I've ever known.

Sincerely,
Elizabeth Baker

Iguazu Falls, Argentina - 2010

lolsob

redington

This was a good day. Do you remember? Do you recognize the place? Do you recall where we went that day, and what we did? When you hear the word, does it take you back, to the hours you spent with me under the autumnal desert sun? Do you remember?



I do, and clearly. It was cold. So cold that you gave me one of your coats to wear, so I could stand the wind whipping my body as we rode in the open air. You drove there; I drove back. Remember? You were impressed by how comfortable I was handling the ATV on the steep path, so jagged and narrow.

The brush was dense with overgrowth, and you deliberately pointed us down the most treacherous path you could find. You wanted to conquer, to dominate. To show the land who was lord and king over it.

We packed pretzels and pickles and cookies, soda and beer. You fixed tiny cold cut sandwiches on crackers that we ate as we motored slowly across the rocks. We stopped whenever I wanted to take pictures. We stopped at the gentle trickling waterfall, and climbed around on huge boulders in the crisp quiet. We nearly got stuck a few times, and you were so proud when the Ranger came through in the clutch. If it wasn't for your direction, I would have gotten us lost in the fast-falling dusk.

I didn't hate you yet.

You hadn't shown me everything you had to show - every last ugly inch of hatred and anger and spite and envy and insecurity.

I didn't fear you yet.

You hadn't shown me the uncontrollable rage and the fury - the need you had to frighten me into submission and compliance. You hadn't taught me to sublimate and aquiesce to your demands for utter control, lest I incur wrath - or worse, apathy. You hadn't yet perfected your system of reward and punishment.

You hadn't scarred me yet.

You hadn't said the cruel, wicked, unforgettable and unforgivable things you had inside of you, ready to unleash in a fit of screaming furor. Were they buried deep, or were they close to the surface? They seemed to come so easily, I'd have to guess the latter.

Today was just a good day, passed happily in the company of a man I still trusted, respected, and loved. You were so excited to give me a taste of your world, to share with me your idea of fun. I could see how delighted you were that I truly enjoyed myself, out there in the wilderness, so different from what I've come to expect from men wishing to impress.

This place is exactly like how I'll remember you: rugged and rough, beautiful but dangerous. Difficult to navigate. Easy to get lost in. Somewhere I'd go once, but never again. Like an illness one has to suffer through, in order to gain immunity from it. I'll never be sick that way again.



I don't know exactly where I belong yet. I just know it isn't Redington.

letter to a questioning believer

I'm incredibly excited for you. I, who have been one of your harshest critics. I smiled to hear you say I'm not sure. Aren't those three of the most liberating words you've ever spoken? Doesn't it feel good, to admit you don't know? You're in good company. Nobody knows. Least of all those who claim to.

You're on a path. The same one I'm on, though yes, you're much further behind me. I'll walk slowly, if you'd like, so you have a chance to catch up. There is so much we can talk about, so much I can show you that will bring you joy and peace and excitement for your life. Questions will beget more questions, and you'll fall in love with asking and wondering. Rationality and reason and observation and experience - they are ballast which will give you something sure and strong to cleave to, when superstition and nonsense and fairy tails start to fall away.

You've made strides others don't have the strength to make. You've asked yourself questions they refuse to even consider. Whereas others don't have the courage to even light a candle, you are shining a spotlight. With so, so many people watching. That is a brave and noble thing, and you are to be commended.

Keep going. Keep thinking. Keep asking questions, of yourself, and of anyone who tries to tell you they know The Truth. Keep deciding for yourself. Keep feeling the exhilaration of autonomy.

Look at the world around you. Take in every sight, smell, sound. Once you realize it's all there is, that this life is the only one you've got, it will all become infinitely more precious to you. Every day will be a treasured gift.

Some will try to scare you by saying you're on a slippery slope. And do you know what? You are. You know in your heart that you are. And that's ok. You shouldn't scramble for purchase on ground that won't hold you up anyway. The foundation is shaky - shakier every day. The more light you shed on it, the more you'll see that. Give in, and let your doubting mind take you on a journey. It may be fast and furious or it may be plodding and slow. It may take months and or it may take years. Go at your own pace. Let yourself slide down the slope, because there is something good and firm to land on at the bottom.

There's your good heart and your strong, curious, questioning mind - and those are all you need. You already know it. Don't be afraid to feel it. Some day, you'll even be able to say it. You won't be alone when you do.