Saturday, July 31, 2010
Traveling the Web - Letters of Note - To Andy Warhol
I am a great fan of the eccentric and the odd. The web site Letters of Note shares my interest in the strange and the off beat. Each week they post a letter that they say "deserves a wider audience." I've read letters from Elvis Presley and from J.D. Salinger. David Bowie's answer to an American fan was especially sweet. And the idea that letters are now a memento mori of a distant past constantly surprises me. How many of us still write letters of the pen and paper variety? The printer and paper style? Letters of Note are sometimes hand written and sometimes not, but the original letter is always scanned into the site.
What is in your personal Letters of Note archive? I have lived in West Africa and Eastern Europe but I don't think I have the letters to show for it. There are shoe boxes of letters I received from my cousin in St. Louis when we were both teenagers. Some are written in circles on pie shaped stationary, others are penned in lime green or flaming pink. As many times as I start to toss them out, I can't get rid of them. My cousin was a rather dull recorder of dinners out and nights at the skating rink, but I remember the unmitigated joy with which I would retrieve each envelope from the box. This was news of the world. News beyond the confines of my town, my state, my region. Today an email comes to me from Turkey and although I am excited to hear from my friend, I do not feel the same excitement as those messages from Missouri provided me with --- all those years past. Thank you, Letters of Note, for keeping the letter alive.