Monday, May 08, 2006
Love Letters I
December 21, 2004
Letters are a fairly difficult thing to write and there are many different ways to write them. One standard form is the "update." Information is the currency of this kind of latter, typically in the form of a linear narrative. Narratives can be interesting, but many times, if poorly done, they'll just devolve into a barely stylized, logistical "event chart." It'll keep people informed, but it loses all the verve and romance of real life.
The opposite end of the spectrum is the "reflection." In the old days, some of our most important literary and philosophical events occured as letters (think Schiller, Montaigne, Goethe). They carried depth and importance. They were biographical (and sometimes cultural) artifacts, not simply egoistic debris. The best kinds of letters, the ones that steer clear of the pedestrian "event chart" and the pontificating hubris that oftentimes accompanies an extended, self-indulgent monologue, are those that mark an event in your life, and in some cases are events themselves. They provide the needed commentary and framing of an event that makes an event worth relating. What you ate for breakfast might be vaguely interesting, but everybody eats breakfast everyday. Does it really need to be marked? Events that are marked should be events you find yourself reliving over and over again, late at night in the warm, soft confines of your bed, an enchanted lullaby, whispering you to sleep.
A month ago I hit a really dark spell. I'd go out on the weekends, drink it up, but why? I became disillusioned with the whole scene. A black cloud unspooled from some place ugly and really nestled in. At work, I stopped talking to people. Normally gregarious and interested, I became listless and melancholy. I stopped going out. Everyone noticed something was wrong. They'd ask what was up, but I'd just shrug and mumble something about being tired and "out of it." And really, there was nothing specific to talk about. It was just in a foul place.
That all changed, though. Now you can't shake the grin off my face. I think part of the cloud you chased away was because of the friends around me. I love my friends dearly, I do, but part of many of their personalities is a genetic negativity. My closest friends have always had a lot of negative energy, and it really gets to you after a while. But you--you're one of the kindest, sweetest people I've ever met. Never has the sun-breaking-through-clouds metaphor ever been more appropriate, with your vivacious, rose petal smile and sprightly, infectious laugh. But most of all it's in your eyes: despite a calm face or slowly batting eyelash, the obvious kinetic energy can barely be contained by your glowing, vibrant iridescent eyes.
I guess this is all just a long way of saying you've put the "happy" in my holidays. (Next time I'll just find a Hallmark card with that in it and save all of us the trouble.) You are a wonderful, happy person. You've made me a happy person again. Like a mosquito of joy, you've bitten me into a malarial delirium, from which I hope I never recover. (Remember, you're the one who told me to write you something about mosquitoes, so that horrendously strained simile is your fault.) The last couple of years have been a hard struggle for me, and at times I thought I'd never see the light of day again. But I can't think of a better way to start off a new year.