We write letters because we relate. We write letters because, although we each craft our story in a way that will hopefully have the desired effect upon our audience, we do not know how the other will respond. As a gesture, letter writing reflects a need for community as it pushes us beyond our solipsistic refuges, beyond our singular encampments, and invites us to open ourselves to our fellow human beings.

Yet, as Jean Luc Nancy writes, “A letter, a missive, once published, is no longer a missive. It is a citation or a mimicking of one” (1991, 108). We must, then, do our best to preserve the living quality of this exchange—the eagerness with which we waited for a reply; the rush when we discovered that the other has seen something that we missed; the joy when a deeper truth had been reached not alone, but together. Although its...

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