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Dear Bradshaw,

That question in your last letter got my mind spinning, man, like a pinwheel on the Fourth of July. It’s all I’ve been thinking about lately. Would I still write if I knew I’d never publish anything of value or worth to anyone? The answer is yes, absolutely, I would still write and, in a nutshell, the conclusion I came to is that, no matter what, everything I write is of value to me. Naturally, I write for a reason, and though publication and recognition would be wonderful, that’s not why I write. I write for fun, to feel free, and to exercise my mind and imagination. I write because I’m alive and, well, at the end of everything, that’s all there is, right? Whether I like it or not, kaput, the end, nothing gold can stay. When and if I’m eighty years old looking back on my life, I want to be able to ask myself, “Was it worth it? Did you have a good time?” and answer, “Yes!”

Have I ever told you about the dream I had many years ago, the one where I’ve been sentenced to prison for a long time? I don’t know what crime I’ve committed, only that I’m in handcuffs and being led to my cell. It’s dark and the air is as hard and cold as marble. I feel depressed and defeated, until the doors of my cell slam shut and I realize I’ll be able to read and write while I’m in there. Suddenly I feel free, really free, like a bird escaped from its cage or a dog from its leash. Interpreting the dream, I think it’s clear that prison represents the body, the world, or my existence, while reading and writing is my ‘escape’ so to speak, freedom inside the prison of society.

On another note, life is good. I’m happy, healthy, and Jimi is a kick. I’m telling you, Shaw, that cat is classic. Sometimes I think she’s a human trapped in a cat’s body. She has this way of communicating and playing that convinces me she’s the cat’s meow. I, on the other hand, am the dog’s bark. That’s correct. You read that right. I’m the dog’s bark. At least for tonight I am. I think this almost-empty bottle of wine has something to do with that.

I hope you are as well and wonderful as anyone can be behind bars. Give my regards to the gang. And to you, my fine unfeathered friend… bark!

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