To Willing Conflators Of Gertrude Stein And Jeremy Todd (four hundred and twenty sixth letter)

Dear Friends,
This project has been one of my earliest indications that I might be rendered historical.  It also suggests that we can all be so if we wish, in some way or other, regardless of what we do or don’t do (that in the end, there’s no public object of consequence, only approximations, similarities, the idea of shared experience). I loved singing these lyrics as a teenager: If you have five seconds to spare, then I’ll tell you the story of my lifeSixteen, clumsy and shy — that’s the story of my life. I used to know the whole song back then, and even though it’s a bit fuzzy to me now, these lines have stayed with me.  I’ve remembered them.  When I was in grad school, new friends would ask if I’d ever go back to Toronto.  I told them I’d return if I became successful (whatever that might’ve meant to me at the time).  I was never convinced that I’d make it, in some way or other, and now here I am (thanks in part to the idea of all of you I suppose) still uncertain but at peace.
How terribly exciting each one of these Not Sent Letters has been.  First there’s the doing of them, then an intense feeling that they make sense and will be understood (individually and collectively) followed by incredible doubt, and then each time, over and over again, an intense feeling that they do make a kind of sense enriched by practice, reiteration – that they have purpose and meaning in their continuance.  I loved singing these lyrics as a young adult: I said I like it here.  Can I stay?  I like it here.  Can I stay?  Do you have a vacancy for a back-scrubber? I used to know the whole song back then, and although it’s a little unclear now, those lines still stick with me.  I remember.
I’ve had a constant and precarious contract of sorts with myself because of this.  There’s been no other partner (no other Other) to negotiate with or take into consideration (although I’ve done so anyway more often than not, one imagined response, confrontation and judgement at a time).  I loved singing these lyrics as a kid: And she wrote to me, equally dour.  She said in the days when you were hopelessly poor I just liked you more.  I used to know the entire song then, and even though it’s a bit lost on me now, those lines still stay with me.  This I remember.   My accumulation of Not Sent Letters — my returns to them and their further distribution through interdisciplinary performance works, digital shorts and cooperatively realized public events — it’s all given me a sense of perspective, of position in general, about whatever I’m aware of and traversing at the time, little by little.  I’ve taken direction from all of this.
In the beginning I continued without understanding what I was doing exactly (and I didn’t make any money at it either).  It may sound like a fairy tale but this has remained the case to this day.  I used to tell myself that I’d write so many Not Sent Letters a week, a month, a year, and that I would ensure they were of a certain quality based on criteria I could never quite define and then, of course, I’d worry about it — but I’ve also assured myself over all of this time that there’s nothing to worry about.  Ultimately there hasn’t been and there isn’t and there won’t be.  I loved singing these lyrics in youth (always changing London to Toronto):  Sixteen, clumsy and shy, I went to Toronto and I booked myself in at the Y.W.C.A. –  I said I like it here, can I stay?  I used to know all of the song then, and even though it’s somewhat fragmented for me now, those lines have stuck.  I’ve remembered this all along.   I’ve grown pleased too – contented even — to be able to introduce to anyone engaging with me, here and now through this particular Not Sent Letter, or any of the others for that matter, what this project has been and will be.  Naturally I want to do more, and I do, and I can honestly say that what is here so far (all of the searching, uncertainty, mistakes and discovery) is what I’ve wanted the most (always of my own desires).  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  There is no such thing as repetition.  There’s only insistence.
Thanks and thanks again,
jeremy