Posts in letter
Eleven Years Together

I don't know if most people still celebrate their dating anniversary once they are married, but any time I can find an occasion to celebrate the person I love, I take it. Here's my Four Years Post, Five Years Seven Years Video, and last year, as we celebrated ten years of loving one another, I wrote this, and I still mean all of it today and more.

Michelle, 

I don't know that I can say anything better, or differently than I've already expressed. When I say that loving you is the easiest promise I keep, it isn't because love is easy, or because it is simple, but rather that with you in my life, with you at my side and in my heart, anything is possible. Loving you is easy because you are my compass, my anchor, the other half of me, my better, kinder half. The love I feel for you is just there, perched on my heart, whispering in my ear. I love you because of all the quirks and qualities that make up who you are. I love the way your eyes light up when you're about to smile. I love the way you see the world, how you make sense of it as I complicate it. 

I love the muscles in your back, how you shoulder the burdens of us, of others. I love that you love so deeply and fiercely. I love how you sleep, the sounds of your breaths, the curl of your body. 

*I can only begin to count (but never complete) all the ways I love you, the happiness I feel when we're driving in the car and your hand slips into mine, or how you make me laugh so hard that I can barely breathe. I love that you sing the absolute wrong words to songs and that you do not care. I love how little you know, or care to know about pop culture. I love that you can pack for a weekend in under 5 minutes while I obsess for at least 20 minutes, wondering if I have the right kind of shoes. I am glad we have geeky things in common, but I also appreciate all the ways you are different from me and all the ways you make me a kinder, more considerate person. 

In the years we have spent together we have shared heartache, loss, grief, distance, but we have also shared adventure, amazing food, great conversations, success, and lots of laughter. I remind you that life is messy and chaotic, and you show me that it's also beautiful and kind. I love the way that both big and small moments with you feel important. What I love most in the undercurrent of our lives is the shared language, sideways glances, the way you fit into my arms. No matter what is going on, the frustrations of my day, or how tired I feel, I know you are there. Even when you are not with me, you are in texts or chats, phone calls or just a feeling I get that you are in the world, doing whatever you are doing and also loving me. To be loved by you is a magnificent joy.

You are my great love. Every day I'm impressed by your toughness, your strength, your passion. You do not do things half-way but with your whole, full heart. You are my best everything, my favorite confidante, my best friend, my secret keeper, my source of comfort, and of understanding.

You are home.

All of me loves all of you. Every 2 seconds.

*from last year's letter

Ten Years Together

To the love of my life on our 10 year anniversary, 

Because you don't like that flowers are expensive and die so quickly and the thought of spending money on frivolous things like chocolate fruit makes you roll your eyes, and because we can't be together on our anniversary, I am using the gift of language to tell you that I cannot imagine myself without you. The timeline of events in my life is divided into before and after you. 

Ten years ago, I fell in love. I never dreamed I could have this kind of life, this kind of love. When I met you, I was unprepared for my depth of feeling, the way I liked you instantly, how you slipped through the walls I'd placed around myself so as not to get hurt. I never imagined I had the capacity to love someone so unselfishly. If I'm completely honest, I never expected I would feel loved like this. After ten years together, I am more in love with you, with our life than ever. I can only begin to count (but never complete) all the ways I love you, the happiness I feel when we're driving in the car and your hand slips into mine, or how you make me laugh so hard that I can barely breathe. I love that you sing the absolute wrong words to songs and that you do not care. I love how little you know, or care to know about pop culture. I love that you can pack for a weekend in under 5 minutes while I obsess for at least 20 minutes, wondering if I have the right kind of shoes. I am glad we have geeky things in common, but I also appreciate all the ways you are different from me and all the ways you make me a kinder, more considerate person. 

I love that you are a reader, that you are not afraid to speak your mind, to stand up for your beliefs. I love all your stories, and the way you tell them. I adore the way you say, "bullshit." You are fiercely and deeply loyal. You make me feel like I can accomplish all the things I want to do, even when I don't believe it, and you support those dreams even when it means making sacrifices. You are the gravity and meaning for all that I do. You make each day more vibrant and full.

You remain a mystery to me, even after all this time. I'm always curious what you're thinking. I am so expressive, and can feel numerous emotions in small spans of time and you are so even keeled that you can be hard to decipher. My neuroses and your laid-back nature are often at odds, and it makes you crazy how wound up I can get about minute and unimportant details. You are often my voice of reason. You are my compass, my North star. 

In the ten years we have spent together we have shared heartache, loss, grief, distance, but we have also shared adventure, amazing food, great conversations, success, and lots of laughter. I remind you that life is messy and chaotic, and you show me that it's also beautiful and kind. I love the way that both big and small moments with you feel important. What I love most in the undercurrent of our lives is the shared language, sideways glances, the way you fit into my arms. No matter what is going on, the frustrations of my day, or how tired I feel, I know you are there. Even when you are not with me, you are in texts or chats, phone calls or just a feeling I get that you are in the world, doing whatever you are doing and also loving me. To be loved by you is incredible.

You are my best everything, my favorite confidante, my best friend, my secret keeper, my source of comfort, and of understanding.

You are home.

All of me loves all of you.

And loving you is the easiest promise I will ever keep. Happy 10th Anniversary.  

letter to April

Darling April,

You and I have quite a sordid and conflicted history. I have loved you wholeheartedly and craved the warmth I know you possess. In the past, I have been heartbroken by your fickleness but today, though I am wearing socks and a long sleeve shirt and using a blanket to stay warm, I am comforted by your unpredictability. I enjoyed the mild winter that preceeded your arrival but I was concerned in March when it was a bit too warm and I was already fighting with ants and flies. And then you come along with your changing mood. For the first time since I began writing letters to you, I understand the need to shift and change, to be something... unexpected. 

You are a bit dramatic, however, announcing your impending departure so boldly. I think you are jealous, April, jealous of the attention that May and June receive. You are in between, aren't you, so much expected for the one who heralds Spring?

I know your secret, April, the way you can turn suddenly cold as if to show the rest of us you mean business, that you aren't all pleasantries and transitions. No, you have your own identity and it is not tethered to our desires, is it? 

I have reveled in your sun, shivered in your shadow; I have loved you from a far and in poetry. I have been grateful for the flowers, the promises you offer. I have known that your love, our relationship is fleeting and often, one-sided. 

I forgive you, April. I know what it's like to be under pressure, have people depending on you and feeling like you let them down. I still love you; I probably always will. 

Could I ask a favor? Could you warm up just a little? Like maybe 10 degrees?

Love, 

Devon

*Previous letters to April 2009, 20082007, 20062006 again

#scintilla: thank you note

No one does it alone. Write a letter to your rescuer or mentor (be it a person, book, film, record, anything). Share the way they lit up your path.

 

I have had many great teachers in my life. I consider myself lucky to feel so connected to people, but there are times when no one can do or say anything, when no one can even listen to you because you have no words for what you are experiencing. When words of my own have failed, I turn to others. There are too many albums or songs to consider, and I have many favorite films and books, but when I think about a text that rescued me, really and truly brought me out of a time full of doubt, the only text I could write about is Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.

Dear Mary Shelley,

I feel as though I know you I have done so much research about your life. You were only 19 when you traveled with Percy to Switzerland and met Lord Byron and John Polidori. Even then, you'd been through enough tragedy for a lifetime. I suppose that all you experienced influenced your writing. The evening you wrote ghost stories with Byron and the other guests, you said you had a terrible dream where you imagined Viktor working on his creation, saw it come to life in all its horror and beauty. 

The story you write in that strange, unbearable summer becomes a lifeline for me as a Ph.D. student. In 2005-2006, I was experiencing a kind of writer's block that was unlike any doubt I'd ever experienced. I had no confidence in my ability to write, conduct research or formulate theories. It was an incredibly dark time in my writing life, exacerbated by a professor who took every chance she could to criticize or be cruel toward me. I was drained emotionally from the constant critique and my ego was certainly bruised. For months, I proved this professor right as I turned in essays that were not best work, thrown together at the last minute and not well thought out, as you might imagine. 

I hadn't intended to take a class in Postmodern theory; I was convinced by my very good friend, Oren, to take the class for credit instead of auditing it, which meant I had to write a paper at the end of the course. At the same time, I was teaching your novel to sophomores in a class on technology and ethics. It had been a very long time since I read your novel and I was engrossed as I read, taught and discussed it in class. All kinds of possible research topics began to emerge and I even, like you, began to dream about Frankenstein and his monster. 

I decided to write my final paper on your novel and I was immersed in all kinds of research about carnival acts and freak shows to medical horror and psychoanalysis. Like Viktor brings his creation to life, this novel electrified me. It entered my life again at the exact right moment and I presented papers on it at national conferences and got an A in the class. 

I don't think any author can imagine where her work will take her or the life it will have as it hits the shelves or the legacy long after she is gone. I think you would be amazed at the life Frankenstein's creature has taken on in our cultural imagination. 

I would have liked to been able to tell you how amazing your work is, how it has been the novel that changed my life, pulled me out of despair and gave me my voice back. It has taken my places and I have a feeling will continue to do so, places I could never dreamed of. I hope to see your letters and manuscripts one day, see the places you traveled. But even if I do not, I will be forever grateful that your imagination and your culture and experiences converged in a novel that captured my attention, that saved me and put me back together again. 

What else is there to say: you completely rock!