LETTER TO NOBODY
ROBERT WALLACE PAOLINELL
It has been many years since I have written to you. I remember our first correspondence from Santa Cruz during my student days. I often wrote to you and I never expected an answer. But then, you are no one in particular and, of course, my letters to you were never mailed so, of course, you never received them. The next time I wrote to you was many years later while living in Albuquerque; although our correspondence, then, was brief, I nevertheless did write to you a few times. Where your letters are now I don't know. Perhaps in my archives which are in storage––which stored archives were damaged by rain and your letters may have been obliterated by the recent, heavy rains.
Here I am again, however, writing to you because there is no one else to write to. Through the years all of my living correspondents have stopped writing. Why? I can't say. When I've written to them I never received any responses so I have stopped writing. A writer loves to write letters, too; but the telephone and the fax machine have destroyed the art of writing letters so I have no correspondents. True, around Christmas I usually get cards from old friends far away, but the cards are usually store–boughts with the traditional season's greetings with an addition of "We are well. Hope all is well with you," and so on.
A couple of years ago I met a beautiful, charming, intelligent, sophisticated woman from Switzerland. She wrote to me twice––after long intervals. She is a good correspondent. Alas. she is married, otherwise our correspondence may have continued and who knows what would have happend. Nevertheless, she was an ideal letter writer. Page after page of profound thoughts and ideas which stimulated me to write back to her with my own thoughts and sentiments and answers to her good questions. She is a rare creature.
So here I am again, many years later in my home town,writing to you again, Anybody. I have a great desire to correspond with someone, anyone––so I have decided to write to you. Relatively speaking my life is okay; I have a small room, a temporary job that gives me enough money to keep the wolf from the door; I have a small computer on which I work, inputting my novels, short stories, poems and a couple of articles for my church's magazine. But what I want most is to write to another human being, want to pour out my heart in a flood, a cascade of emotion. Maybe I want to do that because I am lonely for a woman. Don't get me wrong; I don't want just a bed companion. I want a wife. Did you know that each night before I go to bed I pray for a wife? Really, I do. I wrote down a special prayer and recite it with the intention of dissolving all the obstacles which now prevent me from meeting a woman who would be an ideal wife for me. Believe me, since I returned to San Francisco I have met a few women; I even thought I was in love with one of them and we were together for a long time; but she was not for me; not for me at all. We used to fight all the time, then kiss and make up, then start our fighting all over again. I must admit, however, of the lovers I have had in my life she was the best one in bed but that was the extent of our relationship: the bed. Mighty is the mattress; but I want more than just sex. If that's all a relationship is it is better to be alone and use one's time to compose poems and short stories and work on the novels in my files. In my youth I wanted to climb into the sack with every woman I met. And I did my best to do exactly that. Then I got married. I was married for twelve years, then divorced. I have now been divorced for twelve years; and this bachelor's life is getting to me. I long for a domestic scene again. Even, maybe some kids; but at fifty–five years old I don't know if I can handle raising children again. But with the right woman and the means to maintain a family without too many financial sacrifices, I would like to have kids. Why not? I like children. They can be a chore, sometimes a real headache, but, at bottom they are the joy of one's life. Only a cynic wouldn't love his own children. I know a father, a cynic, who hates children. He has a daughter. He never liked––loved her. So now that he is a grandfather he wants nothing to do with either his daughter or his most beautiful grandchild. Would that I had such a grandchild I would love her as no grandfather ever loved a grandchild. And that is not a fantasy, either.
Well, Anybody, it's getting late and I'm going to close for now. But I shall continue this, perhaps tomorrow night. The reason I am stopping is because it is late and I have to get up early in the morning and go to work. I shall tell you all about my job when next I write. I shall also give you a recapitulation of the latest events in my writer's life. So, until then, be well and thanks for reading my letter.
Dear Anybody, or are you Nobody?
Nonetheless, your name notwithstanding, I am here once again to tell you that I have taken out my little computer this evening to write to you. I remember saying in my last letter that I would tell you something about my job, but I have decided against that primarily because my most recent job (and I have had many) was just a job, a way to make money. In this society money is the key to everything. I have not become a cynic––repeat: I have not become a cycnic, but when one has money one has power. Power and money go together in this countyr, and one's power is predicated on how much money one has. The reason the poor are powerless is because yhey have no money. Of course they don't have money because they are poor; but if they poor had money they would, also, have power and if they had power they would not be poor. Most artists in this country are poor; they are poor because they have no power; they have no power because most artists don't want power they only want money and they want money so they don't have to work at jobs which have nothing to do with their art––that includes myself. I never liked (with a few exceptions) any of the jobs I've had in my life because I worked only to make money––not lots of money, mind you, only enough to pay the rent, eat, pay the utilities and the few etceteras I used to have. A writer should only write and not have to be a cook, waiter, busboy; I was all of those; cab driver, inventory taker, swampper, painter, day laborer, parking lot fee collector, pots and pans man in a hospital kitchen. Oh, how weary I was after all those mindless, smelly, jobs, which tried to suck my soul dry.
But enough of work and the like. Let me tell you about my love life: I did manage to be introduced to a woman and I thought I was in love with her and she thought she was in love with me,but that just wasn't the case and we had a torrid laffair and we did things together, we stayed on the phone, we traveled out of state, we were an item with all of her friends and all of mine; but after less than three months I finally had to break up with her––but she had broken up with me about a month earlier, but we had a reconciliation; but when I broke up with her I knew I would not go back to her; she was not for me. So here I am AGAIN womanless––but this time I truly don't care. It shall certainly be a long time––if there is ever another time––before I give my heart to a woman. I am too old, a little too fat and too poor to have a woman in my life. Women want to be taken care of financially; they want you to pay for their coffee, their dinners; they feel that because you are with them––or rather that because they are with you––you are obligatd to pay for everythig. Well, I simply cannot afford to do that so I shall remain single and celibate and I will be better off and these three weeks that my former lover and I have split lup have been days of peace and a chance to use the little money I have for myself. So here we are back to money again and money, too, will determine how one will live, i.e., if one has money one will have a girl frined or get married; if one does not have money one will be alone, so in our materialistic society we must have a lot of lonely people who stay home because they can't afford to go out with a woman because a woman costs money. If I go to a movie by myself I can get into a bargain matinee for about $3.50; if I go with a woman, I must pay $7.00; if we miss the bargain matinee then the tariff is $14.00. Afterwards, say a coffee and a pastry, all told: $8.00. Even if one eats in a cheap Chinese restaurant at $5.00 each, with a date it is $10.00 and frankly, Anybody, I can eat two nights in a row for less than ten dollars. Tonight I ate in my favorite Chinese restaurant and spent less than five bucks for my dinner and tht included the tip.
No woman for me. It is better to be alone than in the company of a money vacuum cleaner.
Well. Anybody, that's about it for now. I want to input my short novel which I wrote many years ago in Albuquerque. It's called The Studio. I have typed about 40 or so pages and although when I wrote it many years ago I liked it; now I do not like it and think I will have to do a lot of rewriting. In any case, Anybody, I'll be writing to you again. Be