I have maintained some form of written correspondence since I had my first pen pal over twenty years ago. In those years I have made and deepened friendships, stayed in touch with cousins and past teachers; my relationship with my husband began, in fact, by letter, although ours were admittedly of the electronic variety, a wholly literary and precious unfolding. Writing letters remains my preferred method of communication, a sacred act, one imbued with both tenderness and selfishness. The mailbox is a symbol for me rather than a mere object: of connection, of intimacy, of expectation, of wanting; it is a space that can bring, on any day, great joy or great disappointment; it is a space where we fold up little pieces of ourselves, a space that holds our secrets.
My assistant editor, E.A. Midnight, and I experienced a precious literary unfolding of our own. We carried out an obsessive period of correspondence a few years ago, sharing the nuances of our internal landscapes in a spectacular frenzy of pages ripped out of journals and postcards filled to the corners and tucked into envelopes we painted and upon which we shared quotes of what we were reading, signed off every letter wishing light and love—some weeks there would be an outgoing letter in the mailbox every day, just as many in return.
The reason I have continued to prioritize communication through letter writing over the years is that I like being able to express myself carefully, wildly, spill myself all over a space, watch the page turn from empty to something else, something that has never been and never will be just the same again—this, the process, of course, of writing itself.
To me writing letters is a warmup. The fluidity, the creation, the connection: the more I write letters, the more likely I am to begin working actively on a creative project of my own. Better than a warmup, it is a workshop, an ongoing conversation, one that moves across time and through space, picking up scents and changing temperatures, catching dust and drops of rain, a conversation that can be saved and reopened and carried, that can continue at any time, seemingly without end. Maggie Nelson writes in Bluets of having written a letter, “I never aimed to give you a talisman, an empty vessel to flood with whatever longing, dread, or sorrow happened to be the day’s mood. I wrote it because I had something to say to you.” No matter the beauty of the object, the weight of meaning it may carry, a letter itself is a symbol of urgency: a space for meandering, yes, but also a space for saying that which needs to be said.
I write these newsletters to remain in conversation with those who want to read about writing. A great desire of mine is for The Champagne Room to exist as a space beyond the journal, for the journal to simply be one piece of a constant conversation between readers, writers, creators, friends. One way in which we are making this happen is by featuring conversations with past and present contributors to The Champagne Room. The first of these conversations will be with Angela Buck, author of “The Balloon-Men” from ISSUE 01, with her thoughts on domination, novellas, and meaningful productivity. Our full conversation with Angela will go live on our website on Wednesday, February 15th. Please consider purchasing her book, Horses Dream of Money—she wrote it, as we all do, because she had something to say.
Love and Light,
Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief, The Champagne Room