A phony letter for the end of the week
There’s half an hour remaining until I can leave work and nothing for me to do, so I’ve decided to blog undercover. If I were to type this post out in my web browser, it would be a dead giveaway to anyone walking by my desk, so I’ve begun writing this post in a Word document with a fake salutation at the top. From a distance it appears I am writing a letter to a client: “Dear Mr. Rosewater, / I hope this letter finds you well.”
This probably goes without saying, but there is no Mr. Rosewater.
I do take great pride in the real correspondence that I send as a part of my job. In fact, if there’s one skill I truly believe I bring to this work, it’s my ability to communicate clearly, whether that be via email, letter, or telephone. I’m partial to letters, though. If I were to write a book, I would really like it to take the form of an epistolary novel.
The epistolary novel is a literary form that uses correspondence to tell the story. One of my favorite examples is Dracula. That book has an amazing amount of suspense in part because of its use of letters (and the brilliant incorporation of newspaper stories and the captain’s log from a ship found at sea) that provide a certain intimacy which might otherwise be missing.
In the 21st century, we have several new forms of “letters,” from text messages to emails, chat session to blogs, which make handwritten correspondence all the more romanticized. David Brooks summed up the stakes of technological innovation in a recent column, which posits the impact of text messaging on what he calls “courtship” and other social behaviors. And while texting could have all the negative impacts that he postulates (and while I generally feel that it will continue to erode the importance of grammar in our society), perhaps there is room for text messages, blogs, and other mediums in a new kind of epistolary novel—one which unravels in the myriad of ways in which we communicate with one another.
That’s all I’ve got for now—it’s just about time for me to go home. Happy Friday from me and Mr. Rosewater.