Sunday, March 07, 2010

Old love letters

I've been cleaning out old drawers, boxes and rubbermaid containers. There's too much paperwork breeding in my house. I don't really need the old gas receipt with the outline of Heaven Coming Down written on it. I have the actual book.

We've moved a lot so things do tend to get weeded out but the other day I found copies of two old love letters I'd written, one when I was 15, the other 20 years later. Setting aside the maturity factor and life experience of said love, I found the writing differences astounding. Back when I was 15 and in love with my best friend, I poured every romantic cliche onto the paper. While the affection was mutual the intensity wasn't but we remained close even after his dad was transferred to Nova Scotia. If I remember correctly it was our move to Ontario that finally ended things. Reading my interpretation of that youthful yearning was entertaining;not for the sentiment so much as the way I expressed it.

I used phrases like "trifle nervous" and "heart hammered beneath your hand". Silly juvenile words full of youthful anticipation. I had forgotten how innocent that love was, even if it was sweet enough to induce a diabetic coma. I put that notebook back into the box.

The other love letter was full of passion, smart phrases and brilliant analogies. I'm pretty sure I kept it because I liked how well written it was; funny, playful, cute and light. It really was well-written but, there was no passion, no yearning and most of the sentiment, while brilliantly crafted, was a lie. Maybe not a lie, but a definite misdirection. My emotions for that person ran far deeper than suggested by all the splashing the letter did across of the surface of that pond. I shredded the second letter.

Sometimes, I think too much, try too hard for the right phrase, look too hard for analogies. All the clear, true emotion gets lost in the clutter of expression. It's something to remember as I input all the revisions in Hell to Pay. It's something to keep in mind when I start the next project, and all the projects to come.

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