Friday, August 31, 2007

Warmest Regards

It's hard for me to write letters.

Writing a letter is a lot different from writing a blog post, much less writing a short story. It's more... personal, for one. When you hunker down to scribble something on that clear sheet of paper, you have to realize that you won't be talking to an audience anymore. You'll be speaking to one other person from the wellspring of your heart and mind, and that's a strangely terrifying prospect.

I'm not a personable person as much as I am an audience person. I find it far easier to talk to audiences because they tend to think in certain directions: Every member of a crowd will have a higher tendency to act and think like the rest of the crowd does. (If you don't believe me, try asking a question during an open forum sometime -- doesn't it feel easier to walk up to the microphone if at least one other person has done so?)

In contrast, I find one-on-one exchanges to be far more difficult. There's no general mentality to read in these, no quick references that can be used to your advantage. Compounding the issue is the fact that I wouldn't even want to look for such things in a personal exchange -- that's why it's personal, after all. You don't treat a close friend as though he or she were just another part of the crowd.

Sadly, that's usually how I end up addressing matters. So far I've been accused of being distant, unrelatable, and difficult to know... and this is probably why. It's an odd twist, but then again, there are plenty of odd things in my life.

So I can't write very good letters. In the past, people have somehow managed to put up with my halfhearted attempts at personality, or with more than a few tries at creative literature as poor substitutes. I'm grateful for those who have somehow managed to recognize this disability of mine, although knowing that you can't do something and not being able to do it at all are two completely different... things.

So if that recent letter that I wrote to you sounds suspiciously like a corporate memo, or if I sent over a full-blown tapestry of a message complete with its own Greek chorus, then you must accept my apologies here. I can't help it right now, and it'll obviously take a lot of practice for me to get where I want.

At least I know that I'm trying. That notion at least gives me some comfort, despite hours of staring at a clear sheet of paper with absolutely no idea what to say.


Ida said...

But... letters are just conversations on paper. It's even more fun than actually talking to a person because you'd be able to say what you want without the other person interrupting/contradicting you. :P

I even wrote something about it in my blog a while back>> Letters
(If you're going to read it, just read the first paragraph because the rest are pretty much unrelated.)

Well, I hope you're practicing goes well. Or maybe I'm hoping not, because if you're really really bad at writing letters then at least for once, I can say "na na na na na, i can do something you can't!" Hehehe. :P

Ida said...

Oops. I forgot one more "na" in the previous comment. :P

Ailee Through the Looking Glass said...

I love letters, both writing and receiving them. I'm much better at expressing myself on paper than in person, and I find it touching when someone makes the effort to put pen to paper and share their feelings or thoughts with me. I guess the only time I have difficulty writing a letter to someone is when I don't know the person very well and I'm unsure of what to say or how s/he'll react to my words. After all, once you put something in writing and you sign, seal and deliver it, there's no taking it back. :)

Sean said...

Ida: I'll admit that I'm not that much good at one-on-one conversation, either. :)

And for the record... wasn't five "na"s correct already? I assumed that it was a "nyah-nyah, na-nyah-nyaaaaah" statement...

Ailee: That's a strange parallel there... I mean, there's a similar reaction whenever you publish a short story: You don't necessarily know who you're writing for, it's difficult to predict how they'll react, and there's got to be a point when you have to let go of the piece and cross your fingers. It could be that my situation is the complete reverse: I'm better at the latter than the former.

Ida said...

@Sean: Nope. It's 6 "na"s. I have my own version. :P

Sean said...

Ida: I'll stick to just five "nyah"s, then, so that yours will remain unique. :)