From: Babe <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: Gordon Flanders <email@example.com>
Date: Friday, June 17, 2016 at 9:39 AM
Subject: the way the rain smells
I’ve been waiting for the rains to come since early May. The locals say that this was the worst summer yet. They said this last year too, and I remember that it was vicious. They don’t remember what that was like anymore, but I do. I logged the number of migraines I had last year.
It finally rained last night. I was happy for the 27 minutes it did.
I think a madness that feels like sadness afflicts us sometimes and there is no cure. The only thing is to be Buddhist about it and let it go through you. But it doesn’t happen the way they write it in books– it isn’t a gentle wave that you dive under and perhaps, if you can hold your breath, you look up and watch it roll past. It’s not a wave at all, but a bar of soap that hits you.
I wrote a story, dead things, it sat in my brain for a while. It took courage to post it. It wasn’t the narrative or its subject matter that worried me, it was that people would read it and think, ah so this happened to her. There is no privacy in being a writer. Everything you write is parsed to see if it might reveal you, peel another layer of your self imposed anonymity. Ah, but what did you think of dead things? Was it too risqué?
I’ve discovered a lovely new word: limn.
I thought the man in Hope Gangloff’s painting might be you. As you will never send me a picture (nor I to you), I have given you this face and the lackadaisical posture to match the mood that you say has taken you. I hope the boredom has passed, because really there isn’t anything worse than being bored. It’s fucking worse than pain. I know this.
From: Gordon Flanders <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: Babe <email@example.com>
Date: Tuesday, May 31, 2016 at 7:55 PM
Subject: hot everywhere
Hello. I am glad your toes are purple. Happy late birthday. I hope it was the most amazing thing.
I am looking forward to 40. Perhaps my toes will be purple then, too. Or maybe they will start at black first. But what am I saying? I don’t know anything about it. At the moment my toes are boring. Someone told me I need a pedicure. I thought that was weird. Usually people just say I have ugly feet. I have a friend who thinks everyone’s feet are ugly and no one should display feet anywhere for any reason. He avoids the beach.
Anyway, that’s not what I wanted to talk to you about.
I have been reading your stories and now your letter my skin is prickly and hot. I don’t know what 40C feels like because I only feel things in F, but I imagine this is it.
My demons have stopped drinking tea and are doing transcendental meditation. Either that or they’ve left altogether because it’s quiet here. And now that I’ve finished reading all your stories, boring. And despite that I haven’t the time for any of it.
Do you know how many boring things I hate? Almost all of them. I don’t hate them, really, because how does one feel strongly toward something so boring, but I hate that I am forced to live this way.
Yes but of course that’s the whole thing, isn’t it? To be pain free and to have money and to be loved and no one is dying is the whole thing really. And that’s fine. There are no cocktail parties but if there were I’d make stories up. I drank a lot a few nights ago and I was not bored. Then I woke up the next day and remembered that I should only drink alone. I say stupid, stupid shit when I get drunk as if it’s the truth. And lately I’ve been getting drunk with people who don’t know me well enough to know that. And that, especially in the wake of all this boredom, is keeping me up at night.
Ha! As if anything could keep me from sleeping. I sleep constantly, and if I was allowed to I’d be asleep now. I always feel like my life moves to fast, so if someone offered me the power to sleep only one hour a night on the condition that I gave up drinking, I’d probably take it. Then I’d sit around while everyone was sleeping writing down reasons to be dreadfully bored. And if the same person came back and offered to take the power back or add three hours to each of my days and no one would notice, I would probably take the extra hours.
I’m reading Dostoevsky’s The Idiot. I’m very bored and I’m very boring and I hope you will finish your novella soon.
You are a sweet and solemn truth.