A friend of mine shared this article from the New York Times today on writing angry letters, and how many well-known people from history (Abe Lincoln, Harry S. Truman, etc) used to take it upon themselves to write “hot letters” (letters that remained unsent). The purpose behind the letters is simple: for one, they are a form of catharsis; instead of bottling all of your emotions up inside letting them fester, you get them all out on that paper – in a way that doesn’t add any more fuel to the fire. Secondly, it’s a way to say what you truly feel – and often times these vitriolic versions of letters can be toned down, made more appropriate, or organized in some way that they may actually be re-written and sent on to the addressee in hopes of actually becoming a positive form of communication.
Personally, I have certainly never been one to sit idly by while something or someone pushes my buttons, and I’m definitely the type that lets things boil underneath my skin unless I get them off my chest. So it probably comes as no surprise then that I, myself, am quite guilty of writing “hot letters” in moments of passion. And, while the majority of these have gone unsent, and most are probably lost forever now – some did become the rough-drafts of letters that found their owners (as it turns out, there are very few things I am comfortable with leaving unsaid), and some have even gone on to become the basis for these posts! (Like this one).
I guess it’s a little like Anne Lamott says:
So, because I’m still feeling quite under the weather (holy crap can I just breathe out of my nose again? Is that really so much to ask?), here’s a quicky little “Things I’ve Left Unsaid” post for you all, to tide you over until I can actually update you on all of the exciting stuff that’s happening!
“It may be hard to face your demons, but it’s easier than trying to slay them with your back turned.”
July 28, 2012
Are you a person who writes “hot letters” when someone’s gone too far? Do you ever clean them up and send them? Or do you find it’s better just to get it all out, and then move on?