Monday, October 01, 2007

epistolary, with misunderstood recipient

Dear Dan,

I am writing to you today about the Great American Novel. You know the one: it resonates with everybody because the characters are simultaneously perfectly real and perfectly imaginary and the situations are just weird enough and just quotidian enough to make people really understand them. There’s a story arc, but the plot doesn’t bash anyone over the head, and there are puzzles, but none of that faddish cipher-and-codex crap you keep seeing everywhere after that novel-that-shall-not-be-named. It even talks about you a little bit (or maybe a lot), because you are, if nothing else, reliable and feared, and mixing trust with fear is always so titillating. Not to say that you are “titillating” per se, though I suppose there are a few people who feel that way about you. But you know what I mean, surely. You must see it all the time.

So, anyway, this Great American Novel hasn’t been written yet, but more specifically, as of today, I personally have not yet written it. Therein lies my dilemma.

Especially because I am asking you such a great favor, you may be wondering why I would address you so informally, and in fact, as “Dan.” It may interest you to know that there was this goth kid in my high school French class who always wore this hideous pale cake makeup and asked everyone to forget that his name was “Dan” in favor of your name. I thought it might be useful for me to be able to put a name to you while I was writing this, seeing as how you’re mostly conceptual and all. And for me, when I am writing a letter, it is so important to feel as though I am just chatting with the recipient, as though I were having a nice cup of tea with a friend over an extended distance. So, rather than use your regular name (which, I fear, is just loaded with portent), I thought I’d give Dan a try. I hope you don’t mind.

This bit of familiarity is not meant to suggest that we are friends right now, but certainly, that development in our relationship is always a possibility. I’d love to chat with you more (over an extended distance, like so) to learn more about you, as my future readers would almost certainly snap up a novel about you, with a catchy title of course, like, “Dan, The Man,” or “Dan, Revealed,” or “Dan of the Underworld,” though I suppose that last one is just speculation on my part. I also suppose that I’d like it to remain that way, at least for another couple of years or so.

In conclusion, I am not ready right now, and I implore you to leave me behind when you make your next trip to my little corner of the world.

Yours truly,

Nathalie, age 26.

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