I mentioned in my first apronology editor's letter that I felt this magazine was "a love letter to the apron." As I've posted recently, many people write to me to tell me how much they love apronology and what it means to them. Im sure through no coincidence at all (I dont believe in those, remember?) that the day after I posted about receiving lots of complainy e-mails I checked my actual mailbox at work and found an actual, real, handwritten letter from a woman named Juliana in San Mateao, CA.
Her letter was handwritten, not typed because she so loved the spirit of how things used to be done. That nostaliga and euphoria of the apron is what she wanted to honor by not typing this letter. Her request was that I write back to her, and not on a "generic computer letter." Her post scriptum then apologized for lack of spell check and grammar mistakes. Too cute! As that is one of the risks in writing by hand.
As you can see, the major risk for me in writing by hand is my penmanship. I love cursive (as does Juliana) but it can be illegible. But I took Juliana up on her offer because I was so intrigued and flattered. In doing so I thought about how much I do miss letter writing. I actually enjoy being a pen pal. I used to write pages (front and back) to no one, myself, loves, friends in other states, and my first grade teacher (we corresponded all the time since I was in second grade ). It truly is a lost art. I used to get calluses on my hands from the rubbing of my pen. My teacher used to make her own paper, stamp, and embellish it then write in metallic ink. I used to eagerly wait for the mailman to bear his gifts.
Mostly, I think about the great letters written by great writers. The collected letters from whom are sometimes just as good if not superior to their body of published works . Or how J.D. Salinger often fills his works with letters between characters. It seems like these masters were writing professionally all the time, even in their personal letters, knowing someday they too may be dissected, published, and cherished. because after all, there is no divider between the writer's feeling, their passion, and their profession. It just comes out. It's matter of channeling. It's something you can't turn off. That's the beauty of it.
I dont want to share the exact contents of the letters between Juliana and myself, as I feel that its only fair to keep these things between us. But I'll share this: one of her motives in writing me was to ask for my opinion on her starting her own Web site featuring creative ventures. She asked me if I thought she should go for it and if I could offer direction. It still humbles me when people ask for my opinions and direction on business related matters. Im no businesswoman. Im no advice giver. But as I was pondering what I could possibly say, I came across an e-mail (irony, huh?) from my sister asking me to help her with a poetry project. I dove right in and dug up so many of my favorite poems. Two askings for advice in a matter of hours. And as I read and re-read the pieces I've loved for so long, my answer to Juliana became clear.
Im going to write to her that of course she should go for it. She should take on this venture. Because my greatest fear is that I will die and not have written the work I wanted. And no one should have that regret . I remember wanting to be a poet, a writer, a teacher. And when this job came along I took it. I dont regret that. But I was forced to think of all the things that have gone unwritten because I've spent my days at this desk and my nights proofreading.
So yes, Juliana, go forth and do the thing you think you were meant to do. And yes, everyone out there, many of you who are lucky to call yourselves artists by profession, cherish every day you spend doing what you love.
I'm going to write my response this weekend, as well as work on some other things that are waiting to come out.
(Card pictured above is from Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House, given to me by Christen Olivarez www.thedeliberatelife.typepad.com).