To Lon Chaney, Sr. (first letter)

Dear Mr. Chaney,
I’m trying to understand something about your work. Can you tell me what it was like growing up with deaf parents? Some theories suggest this led you to develop the amazing skills you’re now remembered for — the facial expressions, the contortions, the feats of endurance, the transformations…
A friend’s daughter has been watching your films intently since the age of 5. I think her interest is directly related to her parents’ divorce — something to do with misery loving company (but this isn’t a completely satisfactory explanation). She desires a transcendence of fate — a triumph of the will over Reality.
It’s the portrayal of your characters. The narratives within the films are probably too painful to be attractive (but still remain inevitably engrossing). The never-healing disaster of unrequited love — that’s what your films explored over and over again. I can’t help but think you planned it that way. America was ascending to the throne of the Modern World. Why would you drudge up a primordial fear of rejection to entertain it?
I imagine you as a child screaming into the back of your mother’s head.
She couldn’t listen to you speak and there was nothing you could do about it. She would never hear your voice.
jeremy