Namara Smith

New York, June 6, 2022


Dear X,

You know I hate writing emails. They take up all your time and they’re too easy to forward. Any reasonably competent person will tell you to pick up the phone if you want to get anything done. The first time I was given this advice I thought it was because people were more articulate over the phone; then I realized it’s because the stupid things you say in a phone call are easier to forget than the stupid things you write in emails. The best email policy is to pretend everything you write is addressed to your bank or dentist. Never put anything you don’t want the world to see in an email. Twitter is a much better place for your secrets.

Do you remember eight or nine years ago when Amy Pascal’s emails were leaked by North Korean hackers in retaliation for that James Franco movie? I found the near-total lack of punctuation, correct spelling, or intelligible content very impressive. At the time I didn’t have much to do with my life besides sending tortured emails to people I hoped would think of me as a writer and waiting around to see what emails I got in return. I guess a verbally incontinent Hollywood executive pounding the keys at random was my idea of freedom.

My biggest problem when I started writing emails was overcoming the urge to confess. Confessing is supposed to be about absolution but I experienced it as a desire for power, or as a conviction of my own power — the power to persuade another person with the sheer force and sincerity and immediacy of my words. I haven’t been tempted to bare my soul that way for years now; but I still don’t know what, if anything, that impulse has been replaced with.

Yours,
Mara

Jasmine Saunders

New York, June 2022

To: Michael C. Brennan, Records Administrator
Department of Children and Family Services

Re: Adoption Records Request

Dear, Mr. Brennan,

I am writing to inquire about opening/unsealing my official adoption records. This is not a professional inquiry, I am an adult and inquiring on my own behalf. I am not represented by a legal or official entity. The purposes for unsealing the records is mainly curiosity. I am looking to know more about my past. Being crazy at present, and very young at the time of adoption, I can provide very little helpful information. I was a ward of the state, fostered by my grandmother, Lucille Jarrett, before being adopted by her. I do not know the year of the adoption. I do not know the the exact year or date during which this occurred. I do not know whether you can provide information. I was the adoptee, my grandmother, the adopting parent. My grandmother, being at present dead, can provide no information. I was informed by her, that my mother was an addict, that she left us (my sister and I.) My grandmother claims to have saved us, and it is not that I am in denial of this fact, but I now have enough space between she and I which makes me willing and also very committed to defying her, in fact to being so aware of her wishes for me, what she would make of my behaviors, my desires, my self that, having located her wishes for me, I bolt in the opposite direction. The chief charge against me, by my grandmother, is ingratitude. “Ungrateful”, she spat, in the face of any misbehavior. “Hellish”, she called me, as my behavior worsened. Hellish! “Your sister is bad. You are hellish.” I have often suspected, and have proof to substantiate, that her treatment of us coincided with our skin color. Being a few shades lighter than my sister, I was not bad. This meant that I got less frequently and also less intensely. She would find my inquiry into this matter “ungrateful.” Gratitude is a complex emotion for adults, as a child it is completely opaque, unintelligible. If your parent/mother demands “gratefulness” what they are asking is instead compliance. This is not a purely sentimental matter. “I am not ungrateful. I am seven”, I wish I’d said. “Keep it up, and I will send you back.”, she’d say. I would like to know what “back” is.

I am endeavoring to do a bit of fact checking; my mothers and I have each accused the other of two things: we each stand charged with dishonesty and also not loving the other enough. I need to know whether I am lying. Were her children “taken,” my language, or did she lose them, as if we were barrettes or hair ties or marbles. “I lost my children, where are those damned children, I seem to have misplaced them.” Is this how we are always to appear to each other, each prickly and inept, the terrene between us unsteady, treacherous, her full of something, me unsure what, her denying my love, me unaware of hers? I can say that Loving her feels like eating a mountain; both bloated and starved. I’m not sure what loving me feels like. Anyway. Did you know that a primary, universal fantasy of childhood is the wish to be adopted. The child discovers that his parents are not the only parents, and encountering other parents, wishes those for herself. I do not know if this is what I wished, but I am hoping to have more of an idea, if presented with these files. For these reasons and others, to clarify, I am asking that my official adoption records be unsealed and sent to me. I’m going to be very, very disappointed if this is a small file. Illinois is a closed adoption state. The matter is considered closed, but by whom? Not by me. I am seeking to open these records, in an attempt to close the matter at hand. What will I do with the records? Read them. I’m not what I want or wish beyond that. Please let me know what is possible. I await your reply.

Many thanks,

Jasmine Sanders

Morgan Bassichis

New York, June 2022

Dear Negar + Pati,

I am so sorry that I cannot attend tonight's event in person. My life has changed in powerful and unimaginable ways since we last spoke, making it impossible on multiple levels for me to be there. It feels strange to share about it since it's so recent--not to mention the fact that I've been asked to keep it confidential--but I feel safe with you both, or at least safe enough to try. I've met someone. As I mentioned, it's new, but it's rocking my world. I know you both want to ask--yes, we met online! But not in the disgusting way you think Negar and Pati! It was actually weirdly traditional, almost old-fashioned: I was home getting ready for the premiere of Hulu's Fire Island--not in the sense of trying on outfits but in the sense of searching my spam folder for an invitation, which weirdly never came through, but probably because someone misspelled my last name, which happens often. As I was clicking refresh, a photo of myself on my wall caught my eye--I was leaving for school, must have been 4th or 5th grade, and I was showing off my new Batman folders to whoever was taking the photo, and I was just FLOODED with these feelings of gratitude for my younger self. I wanted to share it with someone, but I couldn't think of who. I hadn't talked to my parents in a while because my voicemail box was full so I didn't know what they were calling about, but like a ton of bricks it hit me: THE FOLDERS. The folders! I felt it in my body. The rest is COMPLETELY spiritual, I have no other explanation. I do not know what came over me, but somehow I felt myself typing in staples dot com into google dot com, and navigating down to customer support, over to "Chat with a Staples expert." Suddenly I'm in one of the most intimate conversations of my life, sharing about how, as someone with disorganized attachment, having folders that I could use to organize paper was a lifeline. About how I'm probably not the only person in my community who feels this way, but that my story is unique and deserves to be told. Matt told me that yes my story is unique and yes it does deserve to be told. Long story short I am in talks to be one of Staples' 2023 pride ambassadors. Matt suggested that I begin acting "as if" I have an exclusive non-compete contract, or whatever it's called, which is the reason I am unable to attend tonite. Just know that I send you my love during this magical time of year--anything can happen! We are all living proof.
Morgan

Jamieson Webster

New York, June 2021

Mister Brown,

I have a cancellation at 11, no school today despite little signs of snow, class was cancelled tomorrow morning, an Italian plane hasn’t taken off back to New York. I hadn’t done the preparation work for class anyhow on Adorno’s Freudian Theory and Fascist Propaganda and Ferenczi’s Thalassa: A Theory of Genital Catastrophe. I was just going to tell them about Police Lives Matter on the Cadillac SUV. Thank god for small miracles that have opened up a little time for me that I might steal for you.

I’m still packing. I forgot to get passport photos taken for a visa. I don’t know how to minimize the seven hardback books I want to take with me. And you are right about me, I’m in the rare position suddenly of not knowing what to do, and I do like knowing what to do. Am cautious until I find my feet. You have enough belief for the both of us? I imagine you, bouncing around behind me, as I sit and try to picture how one can be a sensible sensualist. Of course women, you know, are the only access point to what is behind the major distortions of earth and psyche. That is if you can bear to be near us, to touch something that REAL and insensibly sensuous. Most men can’t handle it sadly... most. We were always the only revolutionary class.

Become a revolutionary fighter with me?

“Listen to me: Life is not about genital catastrophe; it’s about genital happiness."
"But if you don`t have any genitals, and if you don`t have any belief in them, you can`t be happy at all," said Kadife.
"That`s true. But in a brutal country like ours, where human life is cheap, it`s stupid to destroy yourself for the sake of your genital beliefs. Genital happiness? The environment mother? Only people in rich countries can enjoy such luxuries."
"Actually, it`s the other way round. In a poor country, people’s sole consolation comes from closeness to genital catastrophe and the beliefs that come from it.”

Dream: I’m on a bus up a mountain, maybe like the ambassador, to a cabin by a pool. Draw the blinds and curtain on the door for privacy (remember being worried about light in my house and you not being able to sleep). Maybe this is your new office, and I’m going to use it to see patients this afternoon. You ask if the parents I see are considered patients. I say they are the parents of patients. Cut into this is a scene in a back of a cab where [REDACTED]. Back in the cabin, you say we can’t just have sex willy-nilly (willy is a euphemism for penis) and anyways, I have patients and you have to go. But you leave me with your penis as something to keep with me. I wake up.

Such a gift upon announcing that one is leaving. It’s what I want willy-nilly; I have such trouble with departures. Freud, as usual, is right.

I hope you will be happy in Rome or Sardinia or wherever you are going. Between running around and working on my Paris talk I found myself writing about La Jetée. The woman opening her eyes from sleep as the only moving image forms the center of my thoughts. Waking and the stirring of Eros—thank you for bringing that back to me.

Yours,
Jamieson

Lake Micah

New York, June 2022

Again, dear—

But how can I address you? Language reels and declines; retards, rebuffs. Can the pen make its approach, an overture of...whatever kind, really. I'm working things out on the page—just now. Like maths. Sans emendation, as you see.

I've resolved not to be wicked. A covenant with oneself can nourish, but you can't have too many of those. Or so I’ve learned. Well, I told V—— last year about the truce some people seem to have with their desire: to derive from its frustration another product entirely, something else, left there like a debris: relish at having been thwarted. Wasn't that ingenious, and probably heroic? What's the difference between that and a concession? she asked. OK. But then I'm not in the habit of calling anyone obtuse. So I settled on saying, You're begging the question, V——. And chissà, as the Italians say.

Still, you're not on my mind these days; I have to remember to conjure you, invent resentments on your behalf. I'm beyond repression, I like to joke—though an analysand shouldn't do that. Which gets to the distinction between me and you, namely that you know that to make do requires a kind of genius for circumstance. Me, I never went in for that sort of thing.

And yet: Were there ever any better words than those? The mirth of contradiction, and the solemnity. And then this question, Out of what lines can one fashion what we call a life? To be discrepant, ludicrous, alien: that doesn't sound so bad. Anything but the banal. There were any number of solutions to the problem of culture. The non sequitur is great for that sort of thing.

Like so. Repartee banishes bad feeling—as just about everybody knows. It’s not the sort of thing which you can exhaust, exactly, except you can lose the feel for it. The loneliest people are the ones without anything to say; what a pity. Of course much depends upon an ear for speech, more than we could ever confess. After all. You can live or die by a phrase. We all of us convey rather less than we suppose. Per se. In due course, eventually. “Span” is a fine way to refer to time.

At any point likely a million mayhems touch down upon a million anonymous lives… That we say violence gets “visited upon”: someone should look into that… Subtext was a neat invention; gave you something to do. New mysteries installed in place of superstition, religion. The irrepressible instinct to infer. You taught me that.

But what next?
L Micah

Charlie Markbreiter

New York, June 2022

Dear Justin,

When you called, you asked if I knew your wife’s ETA.

“I thought she was with you?”

You were following Hailey’s progress on your phone. Thanks to the GPS chip that your manager had implanted in Hailey’s skull, you could track her like an Uber Eats delivery, or a dog. Your manager was like that. Half mother, half boss. Does she make you feel less scared of what you want?

“What does the GPS say?”

“That she’s at Miu Miu.”

“Like where her shoot is?”

“Yeah.”

Hailey—like other various bodies plus personalities which, the algorithm had decided, would symbolize our degenerate era—had been asked to model the Miu Miu skirt. You know the one I’m talking about. It’s a skirt, but only technically. Comes with the matching belted top. You’d been suspicious. You’d asked if it was a Christian skirt.

“I don’t know.”

“I don’t either. But that’s ok.”

You called Miuccia Prada, but she didn’t answer. You tried not to show it, but I could tell that you were upset.

“It’s fine,” you said, sort of mumbling as you dialed, and then Demna picked up.

“Hey, Monsieur Vetement Guy.”

According to Demna, the ass was out on purpose, a trend which, he hoped, would extend to menswear as well.

“Now the ass is part of the outfit,” he said. “Instead of something hidden away.”

You asked if he thought Hailey’s ass was beautiful. Demna laughed and adjusted his cape.

“I don’t know how to answer that.”

This seemed to be the reassurance you wanted. Even so, you started to cry. Ever since you’d become Justin Bieber––that is, yourself––you hadn’t known who to trust. And then Hailey had shown you. That’s why she could never leave again. After Demna hung up, you sat there, staring at the palm of your own outstretched hand.

“That’s settled,” you said. “I just miss lockdown, I guess.”

Then you put on “Stuck With U,” that song about codependency as liberation that you’d recorded with Ariana Grande during early pandemic.
So go ahead and drive me insane

Baby, run your mouth

still wouldn't change being stuck with you

I

As if we were in a musical—and maybe we were—you leapt up, and began to sing the words of your own song.

There's nowhere we need to be

I'ma get to know you better

Kinda hope we're here forever

Anyway, email me back when you have a sec. Did I leave my bong at your basketball court?

With God’s Love, and mine,

Your friend,
Ryan Good

Dean Kissick

June 8, 1569

Dear Elisabet,

I’m writing to tell you last summer Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, the Third Duke of Alba, came back and paid us another visit at court, in the palace, when Silent William was not here, had fled; the Duke of Alba told William’s men that he had to see The Garden, he must see The Garden, but Pieter Col, poor old short Pieter Col, who is as you may know the concierge of the Nassaus, would not give it over, would not tell the Duke’s men where it was, he said,
“If William’s father were to hear of this? Come! If the Brotherhood were to hear—”
“The Brotherhood!” the Duke’s men scoffed.
“Ah! The Swan-eaters,” the Duke’s men, dirty Habsburg pigs scoffed.
“You’re part of the Brotherhood, Pieter,” they accused him.
“Up the Brotherhood’s asses—”
“Those Brothers can eat my ass and I’ll fart on them.”
“I’ll pull some flowers from William’s ass.”
“I’ll stick a knife in his ass and fuck him.”
“I’ll ride his brothers like a goat,” the Duke’s men said.
Short Pieter pinched his nose and he told them, “If the Illustrious Brotherhood of our Blessed Lady were to hear of you coming into this house—”
Oh Elisabet I pray this letter will not fall into the crumpled hands of one of those deformed Austrians—
Dear Elisabet, this painting would have vanished,
The Garden’s shutters would have been pulled close by Pieter himself or by William’s agents, would have been hidden, in the Coudenberg Palace there are, as you know, passageways concealed between the doorways and walls, and Pieter would not say where The Garden might have gone, might have been walled up, and he was gaoled! Wretched poor Pieter Col he was gaoled by Justice Bolda and brought to the prison on the Coudenberg Hill, to one of the torture chambers there, and was accused of having concealed The Garden, and the cabinet of the Prince of Orange also, but he would not confess, he refused to confess, so they hoisted old Pieter up in the air by his hands and tied 100 pounds of weights to his feet, they stretched him right out right up there on the Hill, and he would not confess; they tied, the Pope’s men, those Castilian weasels, 150 pounds more to his feet and pulled him higher up toward the ceiling ’til his body near snapped, they broke, dislodged, dislocated every one of the limbs in his body, they set him on fire in several places, set fires in his most intimate parts, Elisabet, his passions in flames. Oh his wounds were so terrible his flesh was stripped to the bone on his arms and his legs but he would not confess, ragged Pieter, he would not reveal to them the way to The Garden, he would not allow the Duke to take The Garden away over the hills, or even to see it, to sketch a copy of its slopes and its valleys, of the painting’s sunny day. Rotten old Pieter Col his flesh streaming in ribbons, Pieter Col now a few inches taller, was not able to move anymore, could not lift up his hands to his mouth anymore, and so for eight months he was fed like a child in each of the prisons in which he was held. We shall need a new concierge. There is no such thing as sin.
The first time I saw The Garden Elisabet, when the panels were swung open at one of the court’s entertainments, I had never seen anything like how … this vibrant, this rye-drunk colour and song came pouring out, came and filled the room bright as the flowerbeds, bright as the birdsong at dawn in the spring, this vision so singular your bones will be broken, you’ll be set on fire; I wanted to write and tell you about this painting, Elisabet, in case it’s never seen again, or the filthy Castilians get their hands upon its panels:
There are young men and women, white and black boys and girls, and all sorts of birds, frolicking together on the grass; they’re enjoying a picnic of oversized wild blackberries, strawberries, cherries, apples and flowers, and sharing them with the songbirds, which have grown so large as they are, Elisabet they are tempting one another with giant strawberries grown too large to carry, clambering out of great hollow fruits, whispering in ears, and everyone’s naked, and everyone’s offering around their bodies, their bodies are chained together like daisies, they’re making love to one another, and to the flowers and fruits in the meadows and the orchards, the ducks dropping currants right into their mouths, pale blondes sucking on flowers, riding goldfinches, dancing with the bears in The Garden, there are bright flower children with blossoms up their bums, delicious flowers, sweet petals you can lick from their assholes, their assholes are mouths, they are flowerpots; the lass from the baker’s; that sweet boy from the inn; with legs like a table; that boy with the hot sticky buns in the grass; I hope that some morning we’ll wake, you and I, to find our friends and our lovers lying everywhere around us like rotting fruit, without clothes on, resting in the shade of the trees, which drop their apples in the grass. There’ll be cherry blossoms snowing down on us. We’ll be covered in cherry blossoms and when we go for a walk we’ll kick them up in drifts. All the things I have seen, and you have not, the bodies blossoming like flowers, birds bringing us fruit, those strawberry fields, those girls from the market, girls doing handstands with raspberries tucked between their legs, your dropped-on-his-head brother, your jolly sheep; the lives we’ve seen inside ourselves; we’ll come up with more new desires, Elisabet. Visions will come to us in our houses, Elisabet. We have been taught to hate ourselves. We have been taught to view ourselves as guilty and weak. Elisabet, Elisabet. There is nothing to be ashamed of. There’s no such thing as sin, no such thing. There is not too much pleasure but rather too little. We are as free as the birds in the sky. I can feel another world is about to blossom forth. Oh CENTURY! What a day, what a year. What a sense of being alive.

Ever,

Haley Mlotek

New York, August 2021

To: You
From: Me

I start talking to you before I wake up. The time when I am still in bed, sometimes still in the dark—we’re talking, even if you might not know that you’re listening. You once asked for more details about my day but the morning is really the only time I know exactly what I’m doing and why. I’m lying on top of the covers, because it’s too hot for anything else. I’m flat on my back, because I read once that’s better for the skin on my face. I’m curling my toes to stretch my legs, because I still forget that three months ago I fractured the bones in my left foot. The foot reminds me. Now that something hurts I’m awake, and I wish not that you were here with me, exactly. But I agree it would be nice to tell you about my day. When I asked what you wanted to know you didn’t say everything but what you said was so open it might as well have been. So I’m thinking about what to tell you in scenes. All the moments when I know what I’m doing and why. Here I am on the phone talking to someone you haven’t met. Here I am folding clothes on the floor while the television plays something I’ve already seen. Here I am at the market considering types of lettuce. Here I am in bed, again on top of the covers, again too hot for anything else. Here I am falling asleep on my side because I can’t care about the skin on my face at this hour.

This season has felt a little too fixed. A little too still. The hours held in amber, the breeze passing without air. The scenes change, but the scenery doesn’t. I’ve tried to—well, it wouldn’t be true to say that I’ve tried to describe this feeling to you, but I’ve thought about the times soon when I could. I would say that I might have been far, but I wasn’t gone. Or that I might have been gone, but I wasn’t lost. Or I was lost in only one sense and for one reason, but that wouldn’t matter in this daydream, when I would be back.

You know I love hotels, you said recently. I do know. You’ve told me. You’ve shown me. But it’s also true that besides the one short night we spent in a long bed, we’ve spent the most time in beds that aren’t ours. The year we met I was living in a space that never really felt like mine, and I was constantly finding ways to stay in other people’s homes. Watching pets, plants. I would invite you to come over and see how I fit into a place that felt like someone else, and it seemed like that’s where you wanted me most. And now I have my place—calling it mine to you feels off somehow; I’m not even sure if I’ll stay and none of the furniture is mine, but still, I know that in this moment I belong in these rooms more than I could claim anywhere else—and almost no one I know has visited yet. When I think about showing you where I live I only get as far as your knock at the door, as though my brain has a threshold for imagined interiors.

Instead I lie in bed in the morning and imagine us meeting at a place we’ve known but still isn’t ours. I look back through closed eyes. I don’t think I want to say I wish you were here. I don’t think I want to hear you say I wish you were here. I want us both to be thinking, so loud we believe the other one can hear us, about a morning spent somewhere else together.

Maria Golia

New York,  April 10, 2021

Darling, just arrived in New Jersey - staying at a motel where everything smells like reefer and cherry room freshener. Great to see the brothers, though. Re: Cairo’s so-called mummy-parade suffice to say it was a made-for-tv spectacle to promote tourism. Average people, including me, were kept away by police blockades. One great thing about it was the music, composed by an Egyptian – if only they had had the graciousness to at least broadcast it on the streets so everyone can hear/share- but pharaohs were never much into sharing.

Claudia!!! Sweetheart - now I will have for breakfast…HAM!!
xxm



Alexis Okeowo

Date: Sat, Aug 9, 2008, 12:32 AM*

Subject: Havana Nights (Ever see that movie?)

It was a dark, stormy afternoon when my landlady burst through the door of my room, yelling in Spanish. As I prepared to complain about her not knocking first, I noticed there was at least an inch of water on the floor — everywhere. I was shocked, and relieved I hadn’t put my laptop and bootleg DVDs of ‘The L Word’ on the floor like I usually do. And then it slowly hit me: I am living in the Caribbean, and hurricane season has just started.

Despite the timing, I recently came to Cuba from Uganda. There are times when I am walking through Old Havana past a Cadillac convertible from the 1960s, or there’s a random street party on my block, or someone calls out to me in Spanish from the stoop of a stunning mansion with crumbling pink or blue paint that I wonder if I’ve gone through some time warp. The weather can only be described in one word: hot. There doesn’t seem to be a striking difference between the “poor” and the “rich.” They say that’s the aim of Communism . . . but I don’t think everyone’s supposed to end up poor, no? But with its seaside location, wide avenues, narrow alleyways filled with hanging laundry and lit by intense sunlight, and manors with their little balconies in vivid colors, Havana is the most beautiful city I’ve ever been in. Cubans are really loud people — it’s perfectly normal to stand outside of someone’s building and yell their name repeatedly until said person opens the window and responds. “Maria, Maria . . . MARIA!”

Everything seems to be a communal activity: if one person is watching TV, then so is EVERYONE on the street because the television is at maximum decibel. But Cubans are also lovely, they seem to come in every color and size, and they face a lot of unfair anomalies: ordinary citizens can now buy cell phones, but sim cards cost over 150 U.S. dollars. You can buy a computer, but Internet at home is illegal. I buy expensive 30-minute or hourlong Internet passes at a hotel to look for editors’ emails, send story pitches, and check what my ex in Iraq is up to on Facebook. And since I don’t have a sim card, I use pay phones . . . Still, most have a sense of humor about the poverty here, even though the lion in Cuba’s zoo may be the world’s only lion fed on rice and beans. (I learned that joke recently.)

Cuba is one of the hardest places in the world to get accreditation and work. A freaky moment occurred when the press center called me in to “discuss” my American residency. I am writing a story on Cuba’s underground young artist scene, meaning I have to leave the island until they decide it’s OK for me to return to work again. So I am moving over to Mexico City to continue stringing for the Times, and doing another Cuba reporting trip towards the end of the year. I wanted to move to Port-au-Prince, but the flight there is almost a thousand dollars and I spent all my money buying Internet.

Apologies for the mass e-mail, but send me an update and I will respond eventually. Or come to the Caribbean, we’ll hang out . . .

Take good care,
Alexis

P.S. almost 14 years later: I still haven’t returned to Cuba. But Mexico was a great decision.

*Slightly modified from its original form.

Borna Sammak

Letter From Isabelle Peltier
November  2022


i just got pictures from tom borna. where are my pictures from you.

your hair looks nice.

i love you.

write me what your doing.

im doing good.

prisons my bitch.

lolol.

i mean, its easy.

i laugh a lot.

so who fucking cares about anything else.

whatever forever.

write me back, or dont. i still love you.

but i wont love you if you dont send me pictures.

love

Isabelle

Jeremy O. Harris


From: "Jeremy O. Harris"
Date: August 27, 2020 at 12:57:01 PM GMT+2
To: "Adrienne Kennedy"
Subject: Re: Wanting people to like our work

You’re right. It does lead to despair and I have to move past it.

I think a big reason I wanted to feel seen by a black audience is because in a lot of ways I felt like because my mother separated me from so many of my cousins by sending me to a fancy private school I was constantly trying to make my way back into some black club I felt I wasn’t invited into.

Writing Slave Play and Daddy were for me a way of exorcising all of the things I had endured bc of my proximity to such a wealthy white society All my life as a working class black boy. I think it was less about me wanting the plays to be loved but I think i just wanted to feel seen by some of the ppl who I think had only ever saw me as a black boy behind a white Picket fence.

I guess since I have one more question...how, for you, growing up feeling like white society was a constant rival did you process all the films you loved? I read an interview with you where you talked about dressing like Audrey Hepburn when you came to New York. Did you ever feel angry or sad that none of the heroines in your favorite movies looked like you? Did you ever see a film or a play or read a book where you felt not only that a character’s inner life looked like yours but their face did as well?

Xx

JOH

P. S. Just made it to Italy from Slovenia. My mind does truly feel freer on this trip.


On Aug 26, 2020, at 10:14 PM, "Adrienne Kennedy" wrote:

Can only lead to despair.

Work. Has to land. Somewhere

And it out of our control


Comment on your wanting people to like Slave Play

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