Huma Rashid (suchalitwit) wrote,
Huma Rashid

samara o'shea may or may not want to blow your boyfriend

The author touches on something that kept niggling around in my head when I read her first book, For the Love of Letters. (Why do I sometimes underline the title and italicize it at other times? I know one's for when you handwrite something and the other is more appropriate for when you're on the computer, but it's weird to me that I keep flipping back and forth. Maybe I just feel bad about not giving the underline button enough of a workout.)

Anyway, in her first book, she mentioned she had a site, or something, and that she was paid to write letters for people.

The one thing that kept bugging me through that whole book was, ... You're adorable, but WHY would I pay you to write a letter for me? I wouldn't even pay Samuel Johnson, the father of the dictionary, or Ghalib, my favorite poet of all time. I mean, I'd pay Ghalib to write ME a letter, but only after he'd gotten to know me a bit, which is impossible, considering that he died in 1869.

Letters are so personal. If I want to write my BFF a pretty letter, I would sit down and I would work hard on it and I would maybe consult a dictionary or a thesaurus once or twice and I would maybe toss out the first draft and start anew. What I would not do is pay even the most accomplished letter writer the whole world over to write it for me.

It's just consummately lazy.

Hey! I love you! I think you're a great friend! You mean tons to me! But I'm too stupid and/or lazy to figure out how to tell you this in my own words, articulating my own feelings, and instead felt the need to pay a complete stranger that knows neither of us personally to do it for me! So you get a letter written for you by someone you've never met or heard of, and it's kind of sort of from me! YAY.

Um, no. That's ridiculous.

More power to the folks that actually use Samara's services. Good for you. God bless. But I could never imagine myself paying someone to write a close friend a letter for me.

Maybe, though, I'm showing my privilege in that manner. After all, I'm a good writer. (When I put my mind to it. This blog doesn't count, since it's just a place for me to act like a complete spaz.) I was an English major, and I have written amazing scholarly articles, a mammoth collection of artful short stories, and pretty darn good legal briefs as well as persuasive, authoritative legal articles advocating change in, among other things, how our prison system deals with prison rape.

I'm a good writer. I know wordz. I can write a damn letter.

But maybe I'm not thinking about it from the perspective of someone who's either objectively not a good writer at all (due to language barriers or a learning disability or whatever), or who lacks any sort of self-esteem when it comes to his or her writing. Maybe that person would feel much more comfortable articulating his feelings to a warm, generous person like Samara, and having her do the heavy lifting.

Maybe I'm really just showing my privilege here.

Tags: note to self

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