This is a letter Jesse wrote for me in late October on his beloved typewriter. I have transcribed it here absolute verbatim, with all of his (intentional) typos. His wit, articulation, loveliness and grace shine through, and I thought that perhaps it would be appreciated by all of us who miss our dear Jesse. It makes me smile every time I read it.
Dear Kiah, 28 October, 2008
I think you should know that usually I do not compose messages directly on my new typewriter, but rather compose first and transcribe later so as to create a more perfect document. You, however, have already reached perfection on so many planes. I began to worry that this letter might arrive by air-mail, and in doing so bore you, for then it would only be more perfection on another plane. So there may be occasional XXXXXXXX capitol X's just like these and perhapsI willmiss the occasional spacesor add them withvimmer and verve. However, I may also just write things like howererh which only adds a bit of breathyness. Do n't you think? You should also know that your letter has jumped ahead in the queue. Some would call this cheating.
Emily and I have received your card. Did I ever tell you about the waspy, blond, aristocratic boy named, of all things, Cassius Clay? He was a remotely interesting person, but mostly just for that reason: I am wondering now, why boxing no longer seems to be as important in our culture.
My mind is wandering. I suppose this in inevitable, as I have recently ingested a delicious cookie XXXXXX from, of all places, your current location, CALIFORNIA. As you may be able to expect, it was a very special cookie.
This weekend I went down to the city to visit several friends. I went to a concert inwhich one of the pieces was entitled "Dix Minutes du Cent Metronomes". This was, I assure you, a literal description of the piece as well as it's title. 100 Old Fashioned metronomes randomly ticking away in a square of light on the stage for 10 minutes. In the lingo of classical music that would be referred to as minimalism.
It snowed again here today, but nothing stuck. BY the time you get this letter Halloween will have come and gone. So I can in all fairness ask you how your Halloween was. What did you do to fete the spirits? (Ice cream break.) Yum, coffee heath bar crunch my favorite. Are there Ben and Jerry's stores out there? I always used to get a kick out of seeing them while traveling abroad.
My mother will be going out to the bay area in March, and if I can convince her to buy me a plane ticket I'll be excited to come visit you. Regardless, I'll be seeing you in person way before that. We should have a crazy Hanukristmakwanzaka dinner when you come back. Either that or New Years, if you will be home that long.
The tone of the light outside my XXX window has changed now from autumn to winter light. Bizarre that it will be November in only a few short days. I'm starting to find it easier to let my days flow without feeling guilt about a lack of accomplishment. I've concluded that if I can read even half the books on my list for this year it will be far from wasted time. I'm on to Joyce's "Portrait of the Artist..." right now. Though much of the Irish historical references are obtuse, the sensory based stream-of-consciousness descriptions of childhood are perhaps even better than Proust's. Than again, this comparisonXX may be rather unfair for I have only read the frenchman in translation.
I just noticed that the last copyright date on my new typewriter is 1923. That makes this beast rather old wouldn't you say? IN fact, I'm rather amazed she's still working as well as she is. I guess they just don't make em like they used to.
Alright, off to run errands now. Emily and I are making French Onion soup for dinner tonight. There are a few aspects of the turning of the seasons that I prefer to the excuse to eat hearty food again.
Write again soon. In my next letter I'll try to get some pix of the apartment.
--J. Julius Lopata