1. Dear Summer,

    I feel like the older I get the less I feel but the more I know. And all this knowing and not feeling keeps my fingers at rest. When I was younger it was the opposite. I felt too much and knew too little but I couldn’t stop writing and everything felt like it just flowed through me. Everything talked to me and I didn’t understand and now I understand but nothing talks to me. I write hello over and over in my journal and I wait but nothing happens. I think a lot about growing older and I just hate it. I hate that we’re all going to die and everyone around us is going to die and at some point we’ll all be alone. I really hated being 17 but maybe I hate being 24 just as much but in a different way. I think of myself in the past and the future as completely separate people and I wonder if I was to meet the tomorrow me would I even recognize myself?

    Sincerely.

     
  2. Dear Summer,

    I feel like the world is escaping me. 

    I desperately want to live in woods if only for a week. I wouldn’t talk at all and I wouldn’t bathe properly, I would read and try to climb trees, I would write letters to everyone and I would hopefully not be eaten by bears which is my number 1 woodsy fear.

    I’ve been reading too much I guess.

    Sincerely. 

     
  3. Dear Summer,

     I am not a beautiful writer. I am reading Anaïs Nin and I am surely not her. I am not organized. I am not pretty. I am not doing anything to change these either. 

    I wish everything was easier. It’s just so frustrating to think that all I’ve ever wanted to be was a writer yet I don’t and can’t seem to write. I have no inspiration and I am sitting here with my head out the window. What is wrong here? I can’t find my story and I can’t breathe and I feel like I can’t do anything anymore. I’ve been sitting here with my head out the window for years, putting off college, putting off the next step, because I just day dream about becoming inspired one day and writing something amazing and not having to do anything else for the rest of my life but finish that story. I would be satisfied poor if I just had a reason to live, to write. Now I’ve finally realized (6 years after the fact, SIX YEARS) that it won’t happen like that and I need to change my life forcefully not whimsically. 

    I want to go to Boston and I wanted to keep that a surprise but I have such a large mouth that probably everyone knows by now. Though maybe I’ll be in Seattle or Baton Rouge next year or maybe I’ll still be here but fuck, I hope not. I really want to go to Boston and I don’t want anything to hold me back. I think about Grandma a lot and I just worry that I’ll be across the country spending away the time I should be with her. 

    I just don’t do anything here. I sit at home and I read and watch movies by myself. I don’t clean and I don’t throw things away and I honestly dream about being beautiful somehow and skinny and getting fucked really hard. I want someone to hit me in the face, just once. I want to live but I make too many excuses.  

    Sincerely.

     
  4. Dear Summer,

    God, I just feel so frustrated and unsatisfied all the time. I feel like I will never understand myself.

    I went to New Orleans and loved not just New Orleans specifically but loved that it wasn’t here, loved that I was somewhere else, loved the idea of history, the tiny doors and alleys, the hanging plants, the trees weighed down by moss and beads. Everything in southern CA is so NEW, new Super Targets and apartment buildings, grocery stores, restaurants, history is hard to find here. I like So CA but I’d like it better to live elsewhere and be able to say, “Oh, yeah, I’m from southern California.” Then there’s the cool feeling, the vision your conversation partner gets of sunglasses and sandals and bikinis and convertibles, long blond hair, Barbies. Then you feel kind of cool but living here now, though, not so cool. 

    I left New Orleans and I didn’t feel sad, I didn’t long to stay, I felt okay. I thought I’d be upset, to think I’ll probably never have another chance to visit but I felt the opposite. I felt content because I just knew I’d be back. 

    I’ve been looking up colleges, I’ve filed out my FAFSA application and I just need to settle on some schools. I want to go to LSU. Or Penn State. Or I don’t know. I want to get far away from here. I want to start my life.

    Sincerely.

     
  5. Dear Summer,

    I spend hours researching ages. It consumes me. I feel I am wasting my time doing anything.

    • David Lynch was 25 when he started working on Eraserhead.
    • JD Salinger was around 21 when he wrote Catcher in the Rye.
    • Sylvia Plath was around 25 when she wrote The Bell Jar.
    • Jack Kerouac, 29 - On the Road.
    • Hunter S. Thompson, 23 - The Rum Diary.
    • Ken Kesey, mid 20’s - One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
    • Allen Ginsberg was 29 when he read Howl for the first time. 
    • Arthur Rimbaud gave up writing when he was 21.

      Summer, I feel like everything keeps running away from me, that my “golden years” have passed by and there’s no point to continue dreaming. I hate each day that passes when I haven’t done something, anything and it’s every day that feels this way, hateful, disappointing, frustrating. I am waiting for something to hit me and at this rate it will have to knock me unconscious.  

      I want to give up counting the days because they all just add up to years. I’m letting myself drown in time and I need to be saved.

      Sincerely.

       
    • Dear Summer,

      The first link on my bookmarks bar is “Recent Earthquakes in California” because I can’t stop thinking about them. And it might be because I hadn’t really felt one in years, either I’d sleep through it or I’d be driving or I’d be at work, not noticing, but recently I’ve felt every single vibration. Not just felt, I guess, but heard. I can hear the earthquakes rolling towards me at four in the morning and my heart starts skipping and my body tries to freeze in anticipation but starts to sway instead so I feel an earthquake even if it’s one my body fakes. I always catch myself staring at my ceiling fan for a good 60 seconds, trying to detect any rocking, any sign that the house really did shake and then I go to “Recent Earthquakes in California” to make sure. I always wonder what I would do if a Big One came, would I have to time to grab my cats, and if I did, how would I keep them with me outside, would they be ok? Would my cats know how to duck and jump and get the fuck out of the way if they needed to? And my turtle, would I have time to grab him? He can’t defend himself, he can’t run. Shoes, would I have time to grab my shoes or do I have to run outside barefoot? Would the earthquake start slowly and gain momentum or would there be a huge, house shattering shake on its first try so I wouldn’t even have a chance to stand up? And it’s weird because they worry me, but they don’t scare me. I just feel like I suddenly need to be prepared.

      Sometimes, I honestly wonder if the Earth is trying to tell me something.

      Sincerely.

       
    • Dear Summer,

      My wrists are itching, the right one on Thursday, the left one tonight. I don’t really understand why.

      A couple days ago I went to the library, got a brand new library card, and checked out a book I’ve been meaning to read for years. I think that was the stupidly happiest I’ve been all month. The inner mother in me is coming out, though and as much as I love holding library books, I’m a little weirded out by the huge half-circled yellow stain on the first 50 pages.

      Fuck, Summer, I wish I smoked. I am craving addiction.

      I need to clean. I need to organize my life with shelves and white boxes and bookcases and labels. I need everything to have a specific place or no place at all because when my stuff just has an “idea” of where it goes, I lose everything. I want to paint everything white. I want everything to look pristine even though I’m not, even though I only shower when I have to, even though I hate brushing my hair.

      Also, I’m going to New Orleans.

      Sincerely.

       
    • Dear Summer,

      It seems everyone is writing about  their first experience with Salinger since his death on Wednesday. My turn, I’ll make it quick.

      I read Catcher three times. First when I was 14 after hearing my English teacher grandfather and my 20 something year old cousin debate the purpose of its required reading title in high schools. Didn’t care for it, didn’t understand it. Second when I was 17, independent studying it through the year, and I liked it, I started to get it, to relate. And last during senior year with the class of my AP English. Mr. S. was obviously my favorite teacher and, in that year, I don’t think I’ve ever learned so much, Catcher being a part of it. Understood. Related. I’m sure you remember. I hope. That’s it, one, two, three. I don’t want to dissect it too much but I liked it, though not life changing exactly. Not yet. Four?

      It still makes me sad, sad and happy. He was 91 and I can only wish and dream my grandparents stay around that long. I went into work today, telling myself not to bring it up. I wanted someone else to know, to come up to me and mention it, I wanted someone else to initiate a discussion because sometimes I feel like the weird book reading girl, the girl that can talk you to sleep about writers. Nope, the moment I saw two co-workers that vaguely read standing next to each other I blurted it out and didn’t sound intelligent or even pretentious, just stupid.

      Sincerely.

       
    • Dear Summer,

      I want to sell all my furniture and live in pillows, brightly colored, different sized pillows. I want to write on the floor and sleep on the floor and read on the floor and eat on the floor.

      Sometimes I wonder if procrastination is a disease, like alcoholism is a disease or anorexia. It’s a terrible comparison, I know, but you should be able to control your drinking but you can’t and you should be able to enjoy eating but you can’t and I should be able to get my ass up and get things done, put away my clothes, wash the dishes, anything, but I can’t. It’s disgusting and sick and I just can’t change. I can’t wake up before 2pm and I can’t sleep before 5am. I should invest in a sunlight simulating lamp, put it right over my couch (I won’t sleep in my bed) and set the timer to 9am. Bam, wake up call.

      Well, it’s been a while, five years, I think, since I’ve written. Not a lot has changed and that’s pretty sad.

      Sincerely.