(click for the rest of the letter, or scroll down for more info about it)


Hi. Been a neglectful little bugger blogger, please forgive. It is now November 12. I’ll make up to you, I swear, if you give me a chance pretend reader. Who am I kidding, this and most of my other posts languish here in blog purgatory, lost in the sea of useless information. Dylan’s “useless and pointless knowledge,” or something.

AnywayS I recently wrote a letter as an assignment for Jim Sallis’ novel writing class. We were to write a short letter containing as much of the world and story of the characters as possible. It was a fun assignment and writing it reminded me how much I like the letter as a form for fiction. I was also reminded of the numerous fictional letter I’ve written over the years. I decided to share a few with you here, as well as a few other pieces that concern themselves with letters or are about letters, etc. Basically I turned on my external and did a spotlight search for files with the word letter in their names and picked the ones I liked best. There are more but for now please enjoy.

Letter written for the Sallis assignment it’s pretty dang funny if I may say so:

Dear Girlfriends

Speaking of Bob: I dug up the old standard:
Open Letter to Anyone but Bob Dylan or Hakeem Olajuwon

Written about 94′ or so. This was was published around that time in the South Ash Press.

Here’s a little thing no-one has read called:

fragment of typed letter found in gutter, downtown Phoenix
Inspired by a letter my friend Beth printed at my house when her computer was messed up, a letter she was upset about and subsequently tore to shreds and left in my trashbin. I harvested it and changed it slightly. Beth never read it, doesn’t even know I wrote it. She’s a poet, she’d understand. Actually come to think of it, she’s a poet, she probably wouldn’t understand. Or more correctly: She’s now a sex therapist who has a masters degree in poetry and long ago grew up and beyond my universe of writing.

Next up is something I’ve always really liked entitled Letter as Art.

It’s gotten quite a bit of mileage and has proved to be a versatile piece. It started life as a letter I wrote to my sister when she kind of lost it and moved to London in 1996. She was having a hard time and having a hard time communicating, it was before the ubiquity of the internet and she also moved twice in short order, so she was not getting mail and felt kind of isolated, what with selling everything she owned and moving to England in a semi-fugue state and all.

The letter started out seeded with of all kinds of feelings: missing her, wanting to comfort her, wanting her to have a good time, wanting to know what was going on with her, really wanting a kind of emotional snapshot of her. It suddenly morphed into this insane interview which came out of me very quickly: a strange series of sometimes absurd questions with bits of dialogue and asides, like a performance piece.

Originally she wrote back with her answers, which seem to be somehow lost to time, despite my pathology for keeping every scrap of paper with even a scribble. Sad. It may turn up yet, but Letter as Art also found life as a piece of living room theater, with one person asking the questions by reading from the text and another person answering spontaneously. It was half scripted, half improv, and I made recordings of a number of the live performances made at my Coolidge apartment. Truth be told most of the recordings are unlistenable for fidelity reasons but primarily because everyone was loaded when we got around to reading the piece.
Too bad, I had big ideas to make a performance out of it, having four or five sets of q & a’s, all but one scripted and then each time the last one would be with a live member of the audience and the best of those would be added to the preformed pieces so at the end of the run you’d have all new material based on audience participation. I may re-visit this idea.

Linked here are the original questions and then my own responses. There are a bunch more on tape but I’m not up to the embarrassment I’d have to endure to transcribe the micro-cassettes.

I know I’m going on a bit so I’ll keep this intro short. Open Letter to Middle Management is a poem I wrote after borrowing a computer from a friend and finding all this personal data on another person she’d worked with. The poem pretty much does what it says on the tin. Possibly never read by another human.

And lastly here’s the first of a series of letters I composed for a conceptual art piece created in collaboration with my good friend Steven Yazzie called the Flynn/Toltec operation. I created this entire backstory around an idea he had.

The idea was to make it appear we broke into the curator of the show’s house and stole a valuable painting made by a well-known local artist. We would then displaying the stolen piece at the show as well as elaborate documentation of how it was stolen. It was a great idea and I did a lot of cool stuff for it, but being such a writer and not thinking visually meant the piece as a whole didn’t communicate the concept as well as it might have.
It still looked really cool and we made these disturbing recordings of video chats of the two characters in ridiculous disguises with their voices masked. Someday if I’m feeling really ambition maybe I’ll make a site that reconstructs what we made, because I created this super complicated cipher for them to communicate securely about the heist. I wrote a bunch of coded letter and all kinds of other stuff that just kind of got lost in the bigness and arresting visuals of the rest of the show.
The image at the top of this post is an excerpt from full the letter linked here (In PDF format to preserve formatting.) Also here’s one of the coded letters I wrote, which I’m uploading just for kicks but definitely won’t make any sense unless you read the first letter. I toyed with supplying the de-coded letter but decided against it. If you’re curious drop me a comment and I’ll send you the text. Or you could go buy a copy of Longman’s Dictionary of Contemporary English and do it your own self. It might be fun, but probably not.

And lastly here’s a great website called Letters of Note which also does what it says on the tin. Yet another wondrous find from Metafilter. God Bless that friggin’ blog! Seriously, where would my lonely lurking ass be without the amazing geniuses that regularly send me to the most amazing sites including the one linked above. Some day soon I’ll come out of hiding an pony up my $5, I’ve only been lurking there since it  basically began. Creepy.

okay enjoy, more soon I swear, my blog finger it itchy, or something. Okay, good post.


~ by 15wattLasVegas on May 28, 2010.

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