This is a project I started a over ten years ago. I have a terrible habit of writing letters and never sending them. So I compiled many of them from over the years (1982-2002) and took snippets out to create a sort of found art project. Found poetry and art is one of my absolute favorites so I hope you will enjoy this series. I plan on adding more to the site. Tonight, I sat on the floor in the hallway my pajamas and looked through thousands of poems I had written as well as photographs. It really was the perfect way to spend a Saturday night.
Various Letters, Unfinished, Unsent
Dear Mom, I wish you best luck. Your my sunshine, my only sunshine of you. I love you ps, Love Jennifer P, “you make me feel good inside”.”
Dear Daddy, I hope you feel much better soon. I love you so much, best wishes. P.S. Oops I forgot to ask you how you felt! I bet I could make a list full of things I forgot to say I love you how are you doing please right back xoxoxo Sincerely, love-
Dear Mr. Presidedent, it is Friday Dec. 16th, 1983 and I live in Pennsauken N.J. and you live in Washington D.C. Will you please let me come and visit you sometime. Please! Please! Please! Please! Please! and I really want you to meet my mom and my sister. Because I didn¹t say my dad is because he died will you Please! please! Please! Call or write back! I live in pennsauken N.J. P.S. I know how to spell antidisestablishmentterismn.
Dear Rachel, It’s Sunday night and I¹m supposed to be studying but of course I¹m not. I do this to myself all the time. I get really behind, waste time, procrastinate, have nervous breakdowns and usually somehow in the end manage to pull it all together. but I¹m not so sure about this semester. I wasted my whole today (big surprise there) because I got so drunk and sick last night that today I was a mess. I felt so sick. everyday. I’m so homesick, I don¹t know why. I’m having a crisis I think. New York sometimes is just too much for me. I don’t know. I feel scared in a sense that I’m turning 21. I’m getting old. No more “kid”. It’s weird, sometimes I just want to be a kid again and not have to deal with all the pressures I deal with now. I mean even to be 18 again. I don’t miss high school per se, but I miss that era in my life. That safety you have that you don’t have when you get older anymore. My stomach is still going crazy on me. I had puke all over myself last night. Joe was laughing at me so hard. I just opened the cab door and started puking and he was holding on to my shirt so I wouldn’t go flying out. Then I shut the door but shortly, very shortly, thereafter I realized “Oh no, I have to vomit again” so I puked all over the door and it hit the window and splattered off of it and hit me in the face and went in my eyes.
Dear Kara, Cherry Hill is famously dull. I am so uninspired here
I haven’t even been down the shore yet this summer
I looked for an apartment yesterday with my mom. It is the hardest thing to find an apartment in the Village. Wednesday I start to get a root canal. My teeth are a wreck.
I am really scared. I cannot deal with pain well.
Now it is the night. Dan is getting on my very last nerve.
He flaked on me, he is getting very good at it.
Dear Daniel, It’s 2:55 a.m. on Sat. night/Sun morning. Chris just called me and said you and Fransisco were maybe going to come here. It would be a waste for just one day. Let’s do it for a real weekend! And I want to come there on Valentine¹s weekend. I have such a stomach ache right now. I ate so much today and so many weird combinations. I had about a million pickles and grapes and raisins. I called your house today to talk to Gabrielle for her birthday. Today was Carl’s b-day. That’s so sad. God, I really didn’t even say a prayer for him today. I will before I fall asleep. I really think Chris is a great person. Francisco better hold on to her. And she loves him so much, she always talks about him and how much she cares about him etc. I just stopped and ate a bowl of cereal. That’s great at 3:35 in the morning. Dan, Dan, Dan. I miss you. I’m going to try and fall asleep. Why am I so awake? It’s just crazy. I love and miss you. Have a good week and good classes and good workouts. Smile. Love always and forever,
Dear Steve, you were so right about how the best thing that happened to me was Dan and I breaking up. it’s weird because I am finally experiencing what it¹s like to just enjoy meeting different types of people and gong out and not feeling guilty when I do.
I can¹t believe my foot is still messed up from that run I did
when I was there in Atlanta. My mom fears I’m addicted to my painkillers.
I miss hanging out with you. I have a weird feeling it was really random and spontaneous and I won’t see you again for a long time.
I can¹t believe I’m going back to New York in September. I am getting so used to it here.
Dear Dan, Can you believe I have been here in L.A. a week? You know what’s weird?
How things change. You never know where you are going to be,
what you’re going to be doing, who you’ll be doing it with…
I’m glad though that we moved on b/c we are far too young to not have experience
of other people and other things. It’s the next morning now. I passed out in the middle
of this letter last night because of that painkiller. I woke up and my foot actually feels worse.
I just ate cereal and leftover tuna. What’s up with you lately? You seem really moody or something. Is everything okay?
Dear Jeremy, I wanted you to know that seeing you really made my trip. It’s quite amazing to know that you have a friendship so strong that you can go a couple of years without seeing each other and nothing really changes. You just mean a lot to me. You’re one of my oldest, dearest friends and I cherish you. Please come see me in California. Just get the mud off the shoes before you come in my house! (Remember that, from after the wedding?) This is bullshit, the plane still hasn’t taken off.
Dear Dan, I can’t believe how mean Rachel is being. i seriously don’t know how my mom lives with her year round. So, how is it living with the guys? I called you tonight but no one answered. My sister is being unreasonably cruel, mean, bitchy and hard to get along with. she called me a cunt tonight because I called her an uneducated fart. But she started it by saying stupid stuff and fighting about the car situation!
Dear Steve, I forgot to ask you if I left my white turtleneck there? I think I did. The Polo one. God, I am so jealous that you are there having fun, drunk, and I am here moving furniture. I hope you will come here and see me. The offer still stands. but if you don¹t come here let¹s keep in touch. I wish you the best of luck in all you do and I am very happy for you. No one can make me laugh like you can.
I think I will pierce my bellybutton this weekend.
Dear Jeremy, Well hello Jeremy hello! Glad you called me the other day. It was a pleasant surprise.
I was so grateful for your last letter, it really meant a lot to me. Everytime you speak to me or write to me, I¹m not only impressed by your intelligence but also by your drive and determination to see your ideas and visions follow through.. Do you know how great it is to know someone for as long as I have known you and continually be surprised by them? I¹m working on a scene right now for my acting class.
Dear Danny, That look so weird to my eyes because it’s been so long since I have written that. I am on the plane, having just spent a really great weekend in Austin, Texas. I don¹t think I am happy in L.A. but then a part of me wonders, will I be happy anywhere? maybe it is me?There are so many changes I want to make. I don’t even know where to start
Dear R., this week was a blur…… Fascinating in all ways……. I learned much about myself, about where I want to be, about people and their energies, about mating rituals…… Sitting in cabs I watched the city fly by and knew I was flying with it. For the first time in a long time I felt like I was moving…… Wonder is: people¹s paths crossing and the beauty of them actually connecting. Then the even more minute chance of them connecting on more than a sexual level. The ease with which I can spend time with you and not have to analyze anything. When you have to define something it often changes it because it challenges it by trying to put something in a box that was not meant to be in a box. The magic in how people enter your life. A lot of things came clear to me in NYC this past week. The main one: my life, as well as yours, right now is nothing more than endless possibilities. I am glad that we got to get together. I am grateful for all the little moments.
Dear M., What I said scared me as well. What I said was passionate and impulsive. I felt a lot of things when you were leaving. I will not dissect for you exactly why I said it, nor do I want to. It has everything to do with me, my own crap. What I am saying here is NOT that I take it back. I can¹t. Although, for a while I wished I could. But, that’s immature and, quite simply, impossible.
( If we could take back time, could you imagine? The implications of that?) The whole incident has given me something to write about. It gave me material. it gave me fuel and fire, a muse, an impetus, and, naturally, it gave me some drama. Onward and upward, no looking back…
Dear S, On plane, bloody mary in hand, packed in like sardines. Last week with you was one of the best times of my life. Naturally, I am leaving feeling very confused. You were so amazing to me all week. I know it all seems so random, because it does to me, and yet… It doesn’t seem so random at all. I know you are reading this and probably cringing at the thought that I may actually talk about my feelings. No! No! Not that! I don’t know what¹s going to happen. You just do something to me. When I think of you I smile.
Jennifer Pastiloff is a writer living on an airplane and the founder of The Manifest-Station. She’s leading a weekend retreat in May to Ojai, Calif as well as 4 day retreat over Labor Day in Ojai, Calif and over New Years 2015. All retreats are a combo of yoga/writing for all levels. She and bestselling author Emily Rapp will be leading another writing retreat to Vermont in October. Check out her site jenniferpastiloff.com for all retreat listings and workshops to attend one in a city near you. Next up is Costa Rica followed by Dallas, Seattle and London.
I love the first one. You wrote that in 1982 when I was in the hospital. I did see it in your box of things.
The 2nd one cracks me open. Such deep meaning to it. I remember you wrote that about a month before your dad died.
I love this series. It is the best thing ever.
The 3rd one to the president is Priceless!
I am absolutely crazy about all your writings, but this takes the cake! I have a tender spot for written letters. It’s how my husband & I got together, before email/texts. I still have every single letter he wrote me and they are like gold to me. For you to let us into your goldmine is so so so special! Each and every one giving us a small peek into your heart at that time in your life. So real.
Looking forward to more!
Whoa. This is an awesome idea. You might have to make this into a series on your blog, ha. I do this all the time, start writing and never send, or never finish writing, or I’m waiting for an address and then I lose the letter in piles of paper. This is seriously amazing. I’m so glad you shared it.
Also, that second letter that you wrote to Rachel – I feel like I could have written that YESTERDAY to my own sister. I’m grateful to hear that those feelings are somewhat “normal” in this stage of life. Thank you for sharing it.
This makes me want to go through my boxes of papers and cards and letters and see if there are any gems.
Wow, Jen. Only you could make the seemingly mundane read so beautifully. So much beauty and so much pain in some. You’ve inspired me to dig out my old journals. I used to write all of the time. Bringing to Costa Rica! Thank you for this. Awesome ‘found art’
Omg thank you for your amazing homesty