Monday, January 28, 2008

Words from then

The box under my bed turned out to be letters, from the late 70's to early 80's, my junior high, high school, and college years. They were written by me and a friend, and I have both sides of the correspondence - I seem to recall her handing them all over to me during her own frantic packing before a cross country move.

But they weren't from me to her, technically. We wrote in character, characters we'd created when we were 12 and carting plastic model horses over to each other's house, when the characters were the horses' owners. Long after the horses began to gather dust, the "people" kept on, coming to life in the letters we wrote for them to their counterparts in the other household.

This kept up after my family moved away, when mail was the preferred method of communication for us girls (pre-internet, and phone calls were costly), and then on through college, and her travels in Europe. I don't know when the last letter went between the characters, but she and I, the authors, still write each other frequently after 30 years. (Even now, as most days, I have a half-finished letter in my bag to her.)

Some of those characters evolved into college stories, a few even making the transition to adulthood and to finished pieces. I consider those long years of scrawling notes in different handwritings (for each of my "people," naturally, had to have a different handwriting), as early training in the development of voice and character.

But I can't read the letters, because I know that they won't live up to my memory of them.


Blogger Kevin said...

This is a great post and I love the story behind it. Really, really good stuff !

9:45 PM  

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