I had the chance to reconnect with an old friend recently. Someone who, although we weren’t especially close, I considered a good friend and who I wanted to catch up with and see how life after high school unfolded. Off and on over the years, my friend’s name would come up, and no one knew what exactly had happened to them. There were maybes and possiblys and a few “well I HEARD they…” but nothing concrete. I conducted a couple half-ass searches (well NOW they seem half ass considering my occupation), but could never locate them. About two or three years ago, I began the search in earnest. After the basics (google, social media, and white pages searches) turned up little to no trace of my friend, I put my newly acquired librarian research skills to the test. It’s amazing what you can find if you know where to look (all public information, mind you!) and I was able to track down a good and fairly recent-if not current-address for my old friend. Without a verifiable email address or social media account, I sat down and hand wrote a letter to my old buddy. Yes, with a pen and paper. In cursive. I put it in the mail and hoped for the best. After some time passed, and there was no response, I figured either the address was wrong, or my friend didn’t want to be in touch. That happens sometimes; people let go of all facets of their old life-the good as well as the bad-so they can move forward. Perhaps the letter never reached them. I told myself I exhausted all resources and gave it my best shot.
Fast forward to December 2018, and seemingly out of nowhere, my buddy pops up on social media and accepts my friend request. In the midst of catching up, my friend mentioned that the letter did reach them. I was surprised to learn that my simple letter came to them during a dark time. I don’t want to put their business on the internet, however they mentioned that receiving the letter motivated them to start making positive changes.
I’ve said more than once I do not write for anyone else, nor for recognition, nor veneration. Even though at times I’m clearly addressing an entity other than the screen in front of me, I do not write for an audience, per se. I also said I don’t give a flying fuck if anyone else reads any of this, because I write for me. Because it makes me feel good, and because I don’t feel like I am living if I am not writing. However, every so often I *DO* crank out a piece of writing that is for someone, whether it’s a letter or a poem or an actual short piece of something. (Note to self-start a collection entitled “Writing for Others” or something like that…)
If I write something for another person, I try to give it to them if I can. And I know a piece of writing isn’t as cool of a gift as something from a store or something knitted or otherwise handmade…but it is a piece of me. If I write for you, it comes completely from my heart. I know…it’s shocking to learn LJG has a heart. I was surprised to discover this too, and I am the owner of said alleged heart…the jury is still out on this, so don’t get all sappy and shit with me.
So if I’ve written for you and given it to you, I have given you a small piece of myself. And if I haven’t given you a piece of writing, I’m going to laugh if you ask me whether something I’ve published is about you. (I’m hearing Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain” in my head right now…)
To learn that my letter was such a positive force was humbling. I was happy and grateful to learn that something I wrote helped someone else. Especially someone I know and care about.
My friend, your words gave me hope. Hope has been scanty in my life as of late, and I’ve even questioned why the fuck I am here living and taking up space. You have no idea how your words lifted my spirits and filled my black little heart. It is I who should be thankful and honored that my words meant that much. I am humbled. I am thankful. And most of all, I am hopeful. Thank YOU my friend. From the bottom of my heart.