This is the truth about what really happened that weekend. I have loved you for years. A secret. I have to know why you did that. I’m your biggest fan. There’s a question I’ve always wanted to ask you. I’m sorry.
Is there something unsaid lingering in your life, that is eating away at you? Is there someone out there who you wish you could tell, or ask, that one thing? But you can’t find them, or you don’t have the courage... you don’t know how they’d react?
This blog post is a story about six degrees of separation, which seems to happen to most of us at some time or another, but it is also about snail-mail (so hooray!), and there's a way for you to find some personal resolution on those unspoken words, too. So really, there's something in this blog post for all of us. Read on, comrades!
About six months ago, I received in the mail a little book of short stories, from my dear friend Sonya. (Once, Sonya and I and my dog Oliver squeezed into a tiny, tin-pot rental car and drove across the United States from New York to Florida, into New Orleans, up to Oklahoma, and then all the way to LA along Route 66. I have been lucky to travel to a lot of wonderful places in the world, but that was the best journey I ever had). The book she sent me, Portable Curiosities, had been written by another of Sonya's friends, Julie Koh. It was full of stories that were magical and whimsical and disturbing and challenging in all the right ways. "This writer is my kind of person," I thought to myself.
Then earlier this month, Julie put out a call for participants in a fabulous new snail-mail project, planned for ABC Radio. I might not have heard about it, except that my sister-in-law, who also works for ABC Radio, did hear about it. So she sent a message to Julie, telling her about me, and Julie sent her back a photograph of my book, Airmail. Turns out Sonya had been busy sending books between us! And then my sister-in-law sent a screen-shot of part of the conversation to me, also alerting me to the aforementioned fabulous snail-mail project.
And so everything came full circle, and yesterday I reached out to Julie at last, because I think the universe was saying, "Do it!"
Onwards to the bit where you come in.
You're wondering what the fabulous new snail-mail project is, aren't you. Well, it's called Expressive Post, and here's what it's all about in Julie's words:
Have you always wanted to write a letter to a particular someone but haven’t, for whatever reason?
Is there something you want to tell another person but it’s a delicate topic, and you’re not sure how they’ll react? A topic so delicate that only a letter will do?
I’m testing a potential new show for ABC Radio National that needs letters like these.
To participate, all you have to do is:
1. Write that special letter and post it to the address below.
2. Include your name and contact details.*
As part of the test run, I’ll select the most compelling letters. Then I’ll track down the intended recipient for each letter and deliver it to them. They’ll read the letter for the first time on the show.
The address to write to, and all the other details (including the fact that you can remain anonymous if you prefer it) are on Julie's website, right here. But be quick: this is a trial program and will only go ahead if there are enough good letters and connections to make.
The deadline for the first round of letters is next Friday, 4 November, so if you want to write, especially if your letter is coming from outside of Australia, maybe drop her an email just to let her know it's on its way.
I am going to try to find the words to reach out to my best friend from high school. For years I felt like I had failed her, but I also loved her dearly, and I've wanted to reach out for a long time. I've tried in the past to reach out to her, but with no success. I don't know if she didn't want to hear from me, or if my overtures were never delivered, but they've only met with silence.
Maybe this is my chance to say, at last, "I know I failed you. I tried to be a good friend, and I did love you, but I didn't understand."
How about you? What have you left unsaid? Will you take this opportunity to find the words?