I have never written a letter to any of my former selves. I do understand how it could be cathartic, but writing to myself ten years ago and trying to explain all of this might have a detrimental effect on me. What would I say…?
Instead, I write letters to my future self. Not very often, just every few years or so, and not very long letters, but messages that immediately take me back to that point in time and remind me that those things did, in fact, happen.
I write them when I’m drunk or full of crazy, and I never plan them in advance so I don’t spend very long thinking over them. This means when I come to look at them again, at random moments in the future, I don’t even really remember writing them. But look: that’s my handwriting… It gives me a strange feeling of unsettled comfort.
I open each letter upon receipt, read it, and then I put it away and half-forget about it. Every so often I look in the box and – even though these letters are never truly forgotten – I read through them all and they remind me that these things actually happened to me. That I have always been me. It’s my narrative, made up of cheap printer paper, faded ink and torn envelopes.
One of them is a small booklet, with its pages tucked inside a greetings card. I was totally broken when I wrote it. I was trying to save myself. Another has the meanings of The Moon and The Knight of Swords tarot cards inside the envelope – an unintended prophecy of the man who would turn me into a lunatic.
I seem to write them when I’m on the verge of something. Good or bad, I still need the reminder.
These letters are my proof to myself that it all happened, that I didn’t dream it up.
That I didn’t dream him up.
But he’s an old letter, now.
I’m not sure what the next letter will say.
I only kept a letter from one other person; proof, again, that I really did live my wonderfully crazy life.
And this is how you become immortalised in my mind. Look at all these strange places where you never knew you existed. And I’ll take you everywhere I go, the small part of your essence that is captured in my ink.