July 10, 2011

sisterly epistles

"Almost nobody it seems ever thinks — thinks deeply and intensely and in complete forgetfulness of himself — of any other person. We are all, or nearly all, of us, so centered in ourselves; we see nothing except as it touches ourselves, what its effect upon us might be. I know almost nobody who is really capable of complete forgetfulness of himself, even for a minute, in the troubles of another. — Which is why your letter, so full of thinking yourself into two other people's lives so empty of yourself, is such a lovely thing."
--Edna St. Vincent Millay's letter to her sister, Norma
Letters is a funny word. So is 'news'. News is new; a letter is letters...actually, letters, arranged into words, arranged into sentences — all of which are arranged in such a way that they are capable of bringing comfort, despair, joy. Sometimes boredom, too.

The other night when I had trouble sleeping, I dug up some old e-mails from my sister, who wrote wonderful letters to me in college. Now that we live together, we don't write to each other anymore, but sometimes I miss it. E-mails have become a bore in my life. There's nothing quite like receiving a nice, fat, juicy letter (or e-mail) from someone you care about.

A.S. Byatt wrote in Possession, "I love to see the hop and skip and sudden starts of your ink...." Maybe she and her sister (Margaret Drabble) wrote letters to each other, too. Edit: Looks like they're estranged.

1 comment:

Christine said...

I miss those letters too! Or that notebook...where is it?