First off, let’s all have a moment of get well thoughts for my favorite writer Garrison Keillor who had a stroke. He is expected to recover and to continue being funny. He is on my bucket list of people I need to hug before I die. I missed my chance when he came to Fresno a few years ago. I was/still broke and couldn’t afford to see his performance. Next time I’ll send him a long, windy letter of my deep and undying love for his masterful literary prose and how he can impress me with his comic ability without resorting to cheap or sleezy gimmicks.
Speaking of letters … the letter above will never happen and this is why: I can’t write a letter no faster than I can write a book.
When rumor trickles amongst your circle of acquaintances that you are a writer, all of a sudden you are expected to whip out a letter—as a favor of course—to every disgruntled, offended, opinioned person who crosses your path.
“Oh, you’re a writer. Can you write me a letter to the editor?” (NO!) or “Hey guys (PTA) Tricia is a writer, maybe she can write the campaign letter. (No, she can’t.) or “Can you write my cover letter for my resume?” (NO. I can’t.)
Why? you ask.
Because I am obsessive compulsive. I can’t whip out a letter. The words must first come to me in a dream. I must construct an outline, a synopsis, and I must have a second and third set of eyes for content before I even get to the bare bones of the first draft. Then comes the draft. The printouts, the tear ups, the start overs, the nap.
I tried to write a letter on my own behalf. Piece of cake, you say. No pressure writing that cover letter before the job position was filled, and before I could even get through the outline. No pressure about school ending, campaign ideas tossed, and no longer being allowed at PTA meetings all due to a glitch in the fiftieth draft of my campaign letter. No pressure that the presidential subject in the letter to the editor was three presidents ago, thus sounding more like a history essay than a disgruntled political rant.
But you are wrong. There is pressure. I wanted to write a letter to my back doctor (neurosurgeon) about my paying co-pays and deductibles to see him. And co-pays and deductibles for the tests he orders. And doing it all again so I can get results. YET I HAVE NEVER SEEN HIM. I do not know what he looks like.
My last MRI test results came from the janitor. I swear! I kept trying to escape, but the front desk guards refused my exit, promising that the doctor would be in any minute and that I shouldn’t be upset that I’ve only had to wait for two hours so far—and without a book I might add. They shoved a modern mechanics at me for my reading pleasure and pushed me back into the room.
After hours of banging and scratching on the door, I must have weakened their resolve and they tossed the janitor in my room with my MRI results in his hand. He wore grey coveralls with the name “Juan” sewed on to his white nametag. I helped him with some of the words he hadn’t learned yet in his English language class, but all in all we got through the test results with his gaining important new medical terms to practice at home—along with a few heartfelt words I asked him to pass along to the medical staff.
I, on the other hand, got nothing but a bill for an office visit and a door repair bill.
I should write them a letter.
Is writing letters easier if you are a writer?