It finally happened. I broke the rules enough that I need to confess my sins and be absolved.
In a perfect world where I am the epitome of organization and Murphy’s Law has been overthrown on grounds of constitutionality, the last several letters would look something like this:
58. Renee & Family (2011 Letters Project) -Roanoke
59. Alex C. -Chicago
60. Liz C. -Chicago
61. Stijn C. (@ Postcrossing) -Brussels (postcard)
62. Cora Beth T. -Chicago
63. Sharon D. -Seattle
64. Nick G. -Ann Arbor
65. my soldier in Iraq
In reality, I’m juggling #58, 63, 64, 65 at the same time. I’ve written every day–I promise!–but the past two days have just been like a chapter out of A Series of Unfortunate Events and I couldn’t pull myself together enough to finish off my letters to Sharon, Nick, and my soldier in a timely fashion. My contribution to 2011 Letters is already a whopping 6 pages of legal notepad paper with no end in sight and I have decided that I am just going to keep writing it until I can’t possibly have another word to say on anything, at which point I will go back and edit it into a hopefully coherent, interesting read.
Tonight and tomorrow morning have been blocked off for doing penance, and I will not rest until I finally have letters 63 through 66 written, beautified, stamped, and mailed.
EDIT: Were Life truly a chapter from A Series of Unfortunate Events, one might expect that upon opening her bag to pull out her current letter projects, the protagonist would find she had left them somewhere in Manhattan—to be perused and gossiped over by the very people who should see them least. Is there a reason I didn’t see this coming?
Would someone explain to me the justice in Murphy’s Law?
11. my sister the second -Boston
12. Sarah M. -New Delhi
13. Ganga -Spring Lake
I’m becoming more clear on the rules. Initially I wrote a complete letter every single day. I am finding this unsustainable, since once the medium-weight topics have been used for some letters, only minutia remains for others. Minutia does not often produce quality letters, and I am not interested in sacrificing quality for quantity. I don’t have the patience to rehash the same letter on a medium- or heavy-weight topic to several people, although one meaty topic might make its way into multiple letters as I refine my thinking and my feelings develop. Often, however, my thoughts on a meaty topic, such as the recent, horrific attack in Arizona and its consequences, in a particular piece of writing require time to percolate before I finally understand how to articulate what it is my instincts and intuition are telling me. Therefore, a letter that includes the culmination of a thinking process with multiple threads may, by necessity, require more than one day to write. The finished product would otherwise suffer–and we can’t have that, can we?
So here is rule #1: I must begin a letter every day. I need not finish it, but incomplete letters are not to be encouraged.
#2: Once begun, I must work on it substantially every day until it is finished. This is so I do not procrastinate or forget a letter I’ve begun, and to minimize the likelihood that a letter would take a long time.
#3: I may be working on no more than two letters in a day.
#4: Postcards are acceptable substitutes for letters, particularly on days when I am doing a good deal of other writing, either for work or on another letter, or when I would like to get back in touch with someone I either do not know well or who I no longer have much in common with. They should not become the norm.