July 8, 2016
I’m writing, Tom. Maybe not the kind of writing you imagined for me, a book deal, the next Stephen King — but with lots of hot, organ-shifting perverted sex scenes — but writing’s writing.
This WordPress is my third or fourth attempt at that Great American novel I don’t think I really have in me. I always thought you saw me through the filter of a horny University of Hawaii professor, at odds with his homosexuality and his Pleasantville-meets-hippie marriage to Ms. Wonder Bread. On my good days.
On my bad, I was so sure you confused me for some other sweatpants-wearing fudgebucket fat Asian in Hawaii. We’re cockroaches on a feeding frenzy after Christmas Day.
A lot’s happened since you divorced, survived prostate cancer, tried your secondhand with me, and moved onto whatever the fuck normal people like you move onto. (I’m sure that’s hurt you. And that’s my intention.)
Your e-mails have stayed with me. I found the first few pages, the ones that matter the most, after the debris of yet another altercation, another firestorm, another useless evening spinning my wheels, trying to find one human contact instead of this infernal silence.
You were so deeply fucked up, yet you came the closest to understanding/recognizing me. I hope. Or maybe you’re just good with words, you’re a published writer and all.
I’ll share your first e-mail here. Even though I’m almost fairly sure I’m sharing it with nobody. Writing is like tossing pebbles in a great, big ocean. Everything sinks to the bottom, unseen. People don’t like effort, Tom. But you know that already.
Thanks for trying. Maybe one day, your half-hearted, half-assed efforts will pay off and I’ll be famous. I wouldn’t hold my breath, though. Words, it seems, aren’t very important to people.
Subject: Paris, France
Date: Sat., 11 Jan. 1997
I’ve copied “Paris, France” for you and will mail it Monday. It’s yours to keep. I hope you like it.
I woke up yesterday morning with an erection, the first time that’s happened without a shot in a year. It wilted quickly, of course, but it could be an indication of returning potency.
Why don’t you write? Who are you trying to cheat by not writing? The world or yourself?
You are so fucking talented, it bugs me. You’re zeroing in on details perfectly rendered in ways I can’t ever hope to do. I have to rewrite a passage 20 times to get anywhere near it, and it never seems to have the passion that flows out of you. You want to haunt the world? You want to haunt men? Write about it. Be a witness: tell it what it is like to be you in this world. What made me first love you? Was it your poetic prose? Was it your musk? Why do you think there is a difference between the two? The smell of your body and the sound of your words both send shivers into me, into anybody. You always hated your body, and you hid it in oversized jogging pants. Do you hate your words too? Don’t you see why you are so angry? You have something to say and you’re not saying it.
Write a novel. It’s easy. Start with a day. Tell stories and your soul will seep through and last. Seduce the reader, then fuck him, and leave him shaking wondering what fire he just touched. Don’t write a nice story, or a crying game: write about diarrhea, write about periods, write about living in a rabbit hutch having to choose between jealous men. Write about your asshole and force other people to confront pain. Everything you write to me says you’re a person in pain. Well, that’s what a writer is, and she leaves her testimony in a form that outlasts her. Start your book with your father and mother, their fall from grace, your discovery of self and its absences, your smelly cunt and what your fingers could give you to fill up the emptiness. Make people think twice the next time they see some small, slightly tubby Asian woman in shapeless pants moving ahead of them on the sidewalk. Make them feel her otherness, her pain, her beauty — everything denied us if you don’t do this. Move on through days and see how it shapes up. Let the story tell itself. But most of all, always tell the truth. Don’t protect us from the shit running down your legs or the menstrual blood or the fiery anger. Feel free to be repulsive; make us want to confront you. Hatred and lust combined. I hear so many people mouthing cliches about their marriages and their loves and their bodies. Tell us your truth.
Fuck this shit. Write me a novel. Send it to me through e-mail. Seduce me back into your life, fuck me, send shivers through me. Leave your mark on me. I want you to. I don’t want to bemoan our missed chance. I’m suicidal enough as it is. I want a novel that’s as good as fucking you in person. I want to smell you in its pages, bury my face in your cunt and swallow you, impale you with my cock and look into your eyes when I do it. Can you write this? Does your past own you? Your mother? Your self-loathing, your loathing of others? Fuck it all, Carol, get beyond it and write the truth. (I alternate between loving words and insults, just like you, it seems to be the natural rhythm of our dialogue.)
We did not have our chance. We never had our chance. The only way we can really connect is through writing, and it needs to be more than e-mail messages. You need to pour yourself into something that can exist in the world on its own after we are gone. You have everything you need to be a great novelist. Don’t miss this chance to write while I’m still alive.