Letters

“Cole,

Did you plan on quoting your post or are you just going to let everyone assume that you came up with those phrases? I don’t think the writers behind “V for Vendetta” would appreciate you using their intellectual property for such a failed cause as this one. The teacher claimed she did not say the final was optional so that is that. Get over it.”

Joshua,

First and foremost, let me point out that the entirety of this post will not be phrases from anyone or anything save my own mind. I planned on quoting the movie assuming many people would know where the quote came from as the movie was relatively new and hoping that it would be funny. Assuming is one of the most ridiculous things one can do. It leaves them looking like a fool some of the time, therefore is not worth doing any of the time. I imagine you assumed that I would assume everyone would assume that I came up with the quote (see second sentence). After that assumption, which left you at the former section of my third sentence, you made your second assumption which is that the writers behind “V for Vendetta” would not appreciate me using their “intellectual property.” The truth is neither of us has any idea what the Wachowski brothers would or would not think of it, and even if they had any opinion we would most likely be unaffected by it. The third assumption you made is the fact that this is a failed caused, it hasn’t failed thus far as none of us have had the pleasure of taking the final (optional or not;). The final assumption you made deals with an underlying message in your entire post; that I would actually care what you wrote or for your opinions and assumptions (if you can call them opinions since you seem so adamant to blindly follow the claims of the teachers) This was, undoubtedly, your biggest mistake of an assumption. Two people made claims about the final and what the teacher supposedly said whilst she made a contradictory claim. On the brighter side of life, there was the last post that I wrote, in jest, (which you have ruined) and then there was Joshua whom I thank for his acute intuitive insight. I congratulate you for having seen a movie and reprimanded a joke. As I am only human, (as you have so aptly pointed out) let me make a few assumptions of my own albeit I won’t make them lightly and I doubt they fall under the category of wrong. You used the word assume lightly and I thought you might benefit from someone pointing it out, but it remains more than likely you won’t as I’m sure you’re a very opinionated and obstinate person or you wouldn’t have posted in the first place with all your assumptions, negativity, and maybe a slight hope, that with your last statement you’d be in the good graces of the teacher. Pathetic.

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My dear friend Scott,

I’m not sure when you’ll receive this letter, but I have no other way of communicating with you, it seems.

Thanksgiving is coming up, and the days grow shorter and shorter with the rhythm of my sleep exacerbating this phenomenon. I wake in the morning with much sunlight already gone and by the time I take Charlie out, it’s already dark and the scary things have begun lurking about for the night.

Holden is doing well, as well as ever. He’s about two months old now, and eating and shitting pretty regularly, which is what babies do, so the humans say. He cries quite a lot, but for all the crying and the diapers and the feeding, it’s worth seeing him smile every once in a while. He’s sitting beside me now in, eyes heavy, wondering why his uncle Scott has never met him.

Skunk Creek Scott. Scotty Big-Iron. My friend. How have you been?

Here’s a few questions to think on: What would you do if the entirety of your life was dedicated to revenge? But only revenge wherein you had to hide yourself before you could execute your impeccable plan. That is to say, what would you do if the world persecuted you, for reasons that do not matter for this hypothetical, but you still longed for revenge upon a single entity more than anything else your heart had ever or would ever desire? The specific question is coming. For this scenario, let us say you were independently wealthy. A millionaire we’ll say. So you pretty much had endless resources for this revenge. But since you were persecuted, you’d have to live in solitude, while you formulated your plans for revenge. What would you do during the down time, those long drawn out years of patience and waiting? Say this endeavor took your entire life, which is a long time. You wouldn’t have cable, you wouldn’t have a job, you wouldn’t even have television or a video game console to make it interesting. What would you do? Would you ship in barrels of wine and whiskey and beer and ale and drink all the time? Would you read books of great literature? Would you experiment with science? Would you learn a music instrument and master it? Would you learn to cook like a master? You have the resources. Anything. Except you cannot have the mundane forms of entertainment we all use such as television and cell phones and people. Would you paint? Would you master the Dao and understand it? Would you meditate? Would you write letters?

Would you find yourself?

All the best and I hope to hear from you, and to hear your answers and many more things besides.

In all sincerity,
Cole Lemme
2011

 

“Dear Cole,
I am not a writer. I am a man of many names, a rambling man, chasing the sunset and sunrise till I end up back to where I came. Physically, a man, but a child deep down. Regarding your letter, busy makes me forget tasks. Busy does not make me forget friends. Love ya buddy.”

Scott Park
March 12, 2012

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Dear Stacy,

I’m wondering why I’ve never given you a copy of the first book in the Karl series, Berserkr Blood, to read. I know you said that you didn’t like reading something from friends and fellow authors, but I’m wondering if there was some aversion to the stuff I wrote, particularly, especially after you told me you read some of it. I’ve always been curious what you thought of, well, anything, and you never said much after I directed you this way of that. Would you tell me the reasonings? Lay it on me, in full. I would love your honest truth. Always have. Always will.

Utterly sincere,

Cole Lemme

 

“Cole,
First, a note: I haven’t written anything in some time. I spin worlds in my head and I dream up characters in all their quirks, and place them in situations, predicaments, etc., etc. Sometimes it’s just moments and fragments that I’d like to weave together, but don’t. It’s self hatred. Pure and simple. I am without doubt the harshest critic I will ever have and until I get out from under this boulder that’s crushing me, I’ll never write anything that will see the light of day. This condition of mine makes it difficult for me to read the work of others I know personally (especially if this person has never written anything and just decided a week ago that they want to be an author) because I think to myself, “But I’m the writer here. Me. What do they know about it?” or “He’s written something else? Already? The last thing I need right now is to be reminded of my own paralysis.” It’s sad. And well…let’s be honest, quite pathetic.

So, knowing that, try to be forgiving if the following offends you in any way.

Still further, you remember that I do understand the depth of what you write and think and I can empathize fully with a person who finds himself struck and propelled by the divine, the cosmic, the eternal, the unfathomable, and the soul-wrenching cruelty and heart-tearing beauty of it all. I can empathize with that person who, at the end of the day, still finds himself anti-climactically and yet mercifully human.

Why kick up all this dust? Well, you kicked it first. What do I think about your writing? I think you are a magician with words. On the other hand, I think you’ll have a hard time finding more than a few people willing to read your writing because 80-90% of what you say is better suited to the philosophical crowd. Personally, I think your work is mislabeled.

Reading shouldn’t be work. Fiction, whether poetry or prose, is an escape. Or rather, it should be. Am I saying your writing is work? Not necessarily. But I will say that you never use one word when twenty (or a hundred) will do. Sometimes, your work takes the reader in circles and perhaps that’s your intention. If so, I guess it calls into question what your aim is. Do you wish to tell stories for the enjoyment and enrichment of others? Maybe you want to shout your pain and confusion from the mountaintop, hoping the sounds will echo throughout eternity in the minds of men? Maybe you simply yearn to be seen this way, a deep, tortured soul, misunderstood, who is destined to write the next culturally significant epic. Who knows.

Remember back when I said you appeared indifferent and yet at the same time heartbreakingly involved? Well that dichotomy, while compelling, is distracting and lends a divisiveness to your writing. I’m mostly talking about what you’ve put on your website, your various musings and that roundabout way you have of getting to the point. There’s deep, and then there’s deep. The former is natural and doesn’t try, or at the very least it allows us to believe it doesn’t. It’s the kind that surprises you during an otherwise laid-back conversation and suddenly you find yourself questioning everything.

In my experience, your brand of depth is the latter. It’s taxing. It’s disorienting and torrential and as a reader I wonder if you, Cole D. Lemme, are drowning in your own ocean of indefinitely delayed gratification and heaps upon heaps of unanswered questions and prayers. It’s honest, naked, and rife with yearning and anguish. In short, your website is basically a journal. It tells more about you than it does about anything else and therein lies your problem.

You want people to read what you write? Quit writing about you. Who are you, that the world should give a damn? What’s ironic is you’ve constantly asked yourself this same exact question. Both internally and throughout your writing.

While I enjoy your ruminations, those who don’t know you will quit three inches down the page. It’s a shame, but there it is. As for your novels? You’re talented and no one can dispute that. I lost Areon and Nothingness when my last laptop crashed, but from what I could remember, the prologue or whatever that was at the beginning stuck out as something special, sharp. Then when you got into the story with Areon, you beat me over the head with medieval quest novel clichés. I stopped reading after a while. Granted, it was well written but it failed to hold my interest. I’ll stop there because it was your first novel and as I haven’t even written one, I can’t judge.

Today’s world has had all of the true art drained out of it. With technology, reality tv, smartphones, high-speed everything and its brother, real literature it losing its place. People want their shit now, like now. I applaud you for writing longhand, because if there happened to be a massive EMP attack, most people wouldn’t even know how to find their assholes without an LED light or touchscreen. However, survival is about adaption. I don’t mean you have to become one with the sheep. On the contrary, because I’d bitch-slap you. You just have to know what people want and give them your own version of it. It sounds like selling out, and maybe it is. But that’s how you sell books and gain fans, which you want, whether you admit it or not.

Take the Hunger Games. You said it yourself, it’s not great literature but you’d be lying if you said you could put it down. Take Twilight. Stephanie Meyer is a Mormon housewife who came out of nowhere. She had a dream about a normal human girl falling in love with a sparkly vampire and now she’s a bloomin billionaire. It’s insipid, but addictive. Harry Potter was better as far as writing goes, but the idea was so awesome and was targeted perfectly it caught on like the macarena.

The message is you have to figure out what people want. No one wanted another story about vampires. I know I didn’t, many years back when I first picked Twilight up off a shelf in some bookstore in Maine. I read the back and it seemed completely commonplace except the phrase, “I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him.” It became clear to me that this was a story about star-crossed lovers, living amidst supernatural peril. Can’t beat that. It’s what I wanted. I was on vacation for pete’s sake. To the checkout I went!

Girls don’t really love vampires. They want a man to fall so deeply in love with them that he’d risk all he knows and even eternity itself to be with them. Men are the same, only not with romance. No one, except maybe a LARPer, wants to read about what color Hero A’s jerkin is or how well the author can use a thesaurus and manage to say the same thing twice in the same sentence. There’s a reason James Patterson has published so many damn novels that they all bleed together. His chapters are about three pages on average. He gets to the point quickly and lets the reader fill in the blanks.

Now after having said all that crap, I’m going to say again that the most important thing in all this is finding out what you really want as a writer.

Do you want to sell books and be recognized by the masses? Then adapt and surf the current wave. You can write something short and vivid while still staying true to your message. You’re talented enough to pull it off.

Do you want to lay yourself bare and hope people take notice? Well, either get used to disappointment or do something notorious and completely unrelated to writing to make yourself relevant first (nothing criminal of course). I don’t know. It’s up to you.

Sorry if none of this made sense. I’m just trying to communicate that you seem at odds with yourself. Your desires are incongruous with your methods.

P.S. Most of this was written while I was drinking wine on an empty stomach, so sorry if it doesn’t make sense or if I get a bit carried away  :)

Sincerely,

Stacy Taff

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