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TGR, Gutenberg, Rubric

March 2015



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TGR, Gutenberg, Rubric

Be My eMail Pal???

I'm amused by the report in Mediabistro's GalleyCat that 50 letters and four postcards exchanged between J.D. Salinger and Donald Hartog were donated to the University of East Anglia and would soon be published. The letters reveal important literary details about the famous author, including that he preferred Burger King (presumably over MacDonalds?), enjoyed Niagara Falls, and admired tennis player Tim Henman.

It got me thinking.

No one is likely to ever donate my correspondence because I never write letters. I remember back in grade school, my class was encouraged to have a penpal. We were given a name of some kid in some country and told to write him/her a letter. My ten-page tome was deemed to thick to send to said country and my correspondence legacy ended. If any of them were foolish enough to keep them, my high school girlfriends would have the biggest collection of letters as we exchanged them at the rate of about 3 a week. I stood in the Post Office lobby in Etna Green, IN at 5:00 daily (along with a dozen others) to wait for the afternoon mail delivery and my girlfriend's letter of the day. The next day, I would post my letter first thing in the morning and it would be delivered to the town ten miles away where she would pick it up late in the afternoon. My letters revealed at least as much about me as Salinger's, but alas, that was 45 years ago. I don't think I've written a letter since.

Now I write email. And tweet. I wonder if anyone is collecting the stimulating conversations that we have via email for possible donation to the Etna Green Public Library. (Just kidding. Etna Green doesn't have a library.)

A recent survey of my tweets reveals that I like chili, playing games, publishing, coffee, and--of course--writing and publishing (in other words, hearing myself talk). This is the stuff our legacy is made of. No one will collect my email and publish it for its deep insights into the political climate of the day and unique philosophical perspective. I will not be known for the contribution I made to literature, science, or the arts.

If I am remembered it will be for what I had for breakfast.