Made-Up Missives

I’m reading a book consisting of letters, supposedly written by the author to someone back home from the places she’s traveling to, around Italy. It’s a strange way to construct a novel, because the plot forms slowly, in pieces, and can be patchwork or incomplete. I’ve enjoyed collections of letters by famous literary figures—my mom allowed me unfettered access to her sizable shelves of the same growing up—for their own merits, and they’re glimpses into the real thoughts, fears, and hopes of people who did amazing work.

They might be real, these letters. I can’t tell. But it doesn’t even matter whether they are or not. They still have the power to hand you insight.

The somewhat rambling form of handwritten letters is charming, but also more meaningful than email, which the author discusses in her letters now and again. And meaning is always gold in your creative work.

Anyone can make something beautiful. If you then add truth and meaning, you’ve stepped above the ordinary into the extraordinary.