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Epistle to T.A.S.

October 3, 2015

As serious as Enduring Puberty Press is about the potential of letters being acts of intimacy, community building and literary works, there has been the omission of what brought me to this (though, if you had read parts of my first chapbook of poems Distraction Contra Diaspora, you would have already guessed).

I tend to agree with Sherry Turkle’s concern about our current uses of electronic social media diminishing our capacity to interact meaningfully with other humans. Outside of the political meetings I’ve been involved in, the life with my partner Jamie, and a very, very, rare occassional hangout with a good friend, I never have good face to face conversations. All of the friends I used to have good regular conversations with are either too frazzled by their work schedules, have written me off or have been written off by me or live very far away.

And then there’s family. I have managed to have good conversations with family members, but mostly in a listening capacity. By in large, I acquired from my family many bad habits, habits of interrupting, of not listening, of talking over other people, of making my voice louder to make me bigger (as my awkward friend,with English as her second language, described it). My father, who has worked physically hard his whole life, and so is wiped out at the end of the day, so naturally has wanted to tune everything out. In the past few years he’s lost hearing in one of his ears and so this gives him a great excuse to not listen. The thing of it is is that he is an amazing raconteur, and capable of making everyone laugh. But there is simply too much head noise, too many competing interlocutors to really do justice to the stories he has to tell and to the narratives I have to tell (I use the latter word because I suck at stories proper).

So, to dispel any pretension, let it be clear that above all else, epistolary art is for reclaiming conversation. Reclaiming Conversation. Below is a filmed reading of my third letter to my dad. Someday he may write me back. And then it will be more than just feel like a conversation.

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