Monday Challenge: Snail Mail

residential mailbox, United States

Though I don’t miss the giant spiders that used to hide in these. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I used to get a lot of letters. Back in the long ago, when I moved about every two years, my friends and I would write to stay in touch whenever I’d vacated a town.* We’d write in class a lot of the time, and those long, rambling conversations with a person who was hundreds if not thousands of miles away kept me entertained.

Letters are rarer now. I know a couple of people who still write pen pals and things, but they’re the exception, not the rule. This not me complaining, by the way. I love the immediacy of email. I love how much easier it is to keep that close connection with someone with the internet. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t occasionally miss getting things in the mail.** Besides, without letters, future generations will have to rely on my text messages and journal entries to figure out what went so terribly, terribly wrong.

The point about letters is that they are a conversation, but one stretched over time. There’s a whole type of story told entirely in letters and other documents—the epistolary form—and while I don’t love the form as a whole, it can be interesting as hell. Especially if one or more of the writers can’t be trusted.

So, for this week’s Monday Challenge, write me two letters: one with news and one with the response to that news. Consider your possibilities: the letter from the front reading we are sorry to inform you and the response from the family thus contacted; the lawyer’s letter of divorce proceedings and the reply; the Space-Prince of Neptune’s offer of two million quardnocks if you will send him your social insurance number so he can transfer the funds from his damaged planet and the answer. Or simply a question: who is the father? Where did you hide it? Will you marry me?

Two sides of a conversation, stretched over time and distance. What will they say?

*Not usually in the dead of night. That came when I got older.
**Perhaps the real source for my love of online shopping. Well, that and being able to order an entire box of sex toys without judgement.


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