To The Letter

Writing while crying, while laughing, while swearing, while my heart is still pumping from escaping, all those I have done. Writing while people talk to me, talk around me, look at me, look away.

Writing with my eyes closed because I can touch type – thank you Dad and thank you grade 9, though I don’t remember that teacher’s name, only the huge, desk-sized typewriters that couldn’t be moved and always had a low hum around them that, come to think of it, my computer does now – writing with my eyes open, watching the words appear on the screen, forgetting to think ‘this is magic’ then remembering. This is magic.

Saving to floppy disks that were floppy, floppy disks that were hard, CDs, flash drives, and now, the great hard drive in the sky where everything rests, bounces back to earth, bounces back to space. Somewhere in the universe – or another universe – a society of aliens reads this, shaking their heads, wondering when our earth will just explode already and teach us a lesson.

Writing by hand, trying to make the letters more even, the loops more deliberate. Writing according to the ‘you are creative yet well-adjusted’ page in the handwriting analysis book. Eliminating the loop on my first initial. A loop meant jealous tendencies.

Writing the lower-case ‘a’ like a typewriter instead of an o with a tail. Years of pages of journals where I stole someone else’s ‘a’ – was I hoping to steal a personality?

I practiced my signature to make it more concise; fifteen letters lend themselves to a sprawl but I wanted them to sit up straight and mind their manners. Look unified, damn you, look like you’re meant to be here, not like someone just dropped you here from the sky. The parachute signature; good enough for bank cards and cheques and forms in triplicate, but not good enough for the inside of a book, an important letter, a birth or death or marriage certificate.

Is anyone else tempted to write a long, looping “john henry” whenever that clever clerk asks for same. I bet if one person did it, that clerk would just ask for a signature the next time.

Smashing the state, one signature at a time.

I had a boss whose signature was a jagged ‘J’ followed by a dash. He signed his name a lot, which could explain his signature’s brevity, but then, so did his successor, and that successor’s signature was his full name, written in tight cursive. One man was taller than the other. Both had full heads of hair. Both had insecurities located in different parts of their psyches. Aren’t you glad I’m not your assistant.

My son is learning to write. He has been writing his name for a while but has finally figured out how to make an ‘L’ the right way up. He can scale the letters now so that they are all the same size instead of the incredibly huge ‘O’ that used to take up a whole page. He writes his brother’s name, too, and the ‘S’ on Superman’s chest, when he draws Superman, which is often. What will his signature look like someday?

As I write this, the fairy on “SuperWhy” says,”Let’s write two lower case ‘l’s.” She is using a magic wand to draw letters on the screen out of sparkles and dust.

Making letters out of sparkles and dust, making words out of letters, writing while the kids watch their show, writing whenever I can.

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