"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Monday, April 07, 2008


Earlier in the year I received a solicitation from an organisation I do not and cannot and will not support financially. I scribbled on the overly-familiar, first-name sprinkled letter that I was unwilling to contribute and would appreciate being removed from the mailing list. I sent it back to them in the postpaid envelope.

I am aware, from press reports, that this organisation is financially strapped.

Last week, I received another solicitation. Again, my name was planted throughout the form letter, and the tone was one of nausea-inducing chumminess. And I was thanked for my past support and loyalty.

Enraged, I ripped the letter into small pieces. While stuffing the pieces into the postpaid envelope I had a brain wave.

I'd received a mail order catalog--for shoes, I think--and it was lying on the counter, a temporary way station on the way to the recycling bin.

I started ripping out catalog pages and folding them up and filling the postpaid envelope with them till it wouldn't hold any more. Then I sealed it. It was so fat I had to tape down the flap.

"That'll show 'em!" I said, handing the envelope over to the Chap so he could feel the heft of it. "And this time, it's gonna cost 'em."

You know how sometimes writing a letter just to vent is supposed to be cathartic? It's the sort of letter that should never, ever be sent. I sort of felt that way about the chunky envelope. For several days--my cooling down period--I left it on the counter.

Was I really mean enough, petty enough, to post it? I wasn't sure.

But yesterday I did drop the massive postpaid envelope into the mailbox that stands in front of our church.

Do I feel better for making a financially strapped organisation pay dearly for an envelope filled with rubbish? Not a lot. Am I going to beat myself up about it? Not for long. In the catalogue of my sins, this isn't a biggie.

Maybe I should've just thrown the solicitation into the recycling bin. Or, to vent my wrath, I could've run it through the shredder. Driven to the edge, I felt the need to do something more. Something worse. Something that might get noticed.

Sending the overstuffed envelope doesn't adequately express my anger and frustration. It's not that strong a punishment. Nor do I assume it's the last contact I'll have from the detested organisation, which has already proved its tenacity.

It was the only way I knew to fight back. And the fact that I was provoked into fighting back at all says a lot.... About the soliciting entity...and even more about me.

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