Monthly Archives: August 2012

Very sincerely yours, etc.

I have decided to try to write letters.

I buy stationery, for no apparent reason. I admire it, and buy it, and then store it, and never ever use it. And I found a bunch of it while trying to organize what is becoming the office, and felt guilty because in fiction, future societies often cast paper as precious or as a myth because there are no more trees, and to buy and hoard paper, while a practical form of investment from which future descendants might benefit, seems wasteful.

Also, it’s an impulse born of guilt and compromise. I am not a great communicator from afar. I have this whole sociological justification for it, and believe it to be sound reasoning, but I don’t especially like that tendency of mine. Compounding the issue is an excess of pride, so if I do make an effort to stay in touch with someone, and it’s not reciprocated, I stop trying pretty quickly. Last week, someone said to me that I could call or write to them, like as a reminder that there exists means of communication. I immediately felt guilty because it was true that I’d more or less stopped and a little outraged, as, at least in my head, the only attempts at communication DID originate from me and weren’t volleyed back, in timely enough manner. I mean, when you text, do you not expect a text back within a few hours or so? An email, maybe a response a day later at most? With letters, it’s impossible to expect reasonably an immediate response, so my pride won’t be offended at the length of time between responses, and I’m not just recklessly dropping someone I care for just because we have different expectations regarding electronic communication. So, guilt and compromise.

So I started writing a letter yesterday and discovered that I’m a terrible letter-writer. I don’t remember how to write a letter. It’s all stream of consciousness, complete with tangents from tangents, and the information I’d imparted is already out of date. Regardless, I will soldier on. Once my hand declaws itself.

Proper letters, written by real people.

“I can write many things to you but if I could see you I could tell you more in one minute than I can rite in a week” William F. Testerman to Miss Jane Davis

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complicated species

I was talking to a friend a while ago about an article I’d read talking about the possibility of a vanguard colony on a planet like Mars. There is a field of space medicine to research and address those conditions which occur from spaceflight, and the article was particularly focused on the loss of bone density. The conclusion was that should one go to another planet, they would never be able to come home, which is a common enough stipulation for these kinds of what-ifs.

He asked if I would still go, knowing I couldn’t come home, and I think I was truthful when I answered, “In a heartbeat.” It would be terrifying, but I can’t imagine ever passing up that sort of chance. Of course, it’s a what-if, a game, and given the real opportunity, of course I have no idea what I would decide.

Still, I stayed up tonight just to find out if Curiosity’s landing was successful. After a day of being dumbfounded by the deliberate horror we inflict on one another, I can’t help but feel a flood of gratitude toward the scientists and engineers who made this happen, because it is a reminder that we are capable of doing great things too.

This is a beautiful scene.

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