When I was 12 I went to live in the Virgin Islands. I came back to NY every summer to stay with my dad and see my friends. They wrote me regularly to let me know what was happening. Letters from 12 year olds aren’t very exciting. Most were: Hi there, how are you? I am fine. We went to the lake last weekend and Josh caught ten fish. Love Sara. I was glad to get them, but they were horribly impersonal and made the distance between us seem immense.
One day Jay wrote me.
Guess what happened? Tommy was in chemistry class and he blew up the lab!!!!!
He mixed the wrong ingredients and it made an explosion. There was glass everywhere. They evacuated the whole school. Then the ambulence came and took away twenty kids to the hospital for burns and glass cuts.
Just kidding. Nothing is happening here. It’s really boring.
I was flabergasted. A letter that was cool. It was all made up, but it was funny. It made me feel connected to Jay and his brother Tommy. My sister and I passed the letter back and forth until it fell apart. I was in seventh grade. I thought about writing funny stories that people would pass back and forth. I wanted to breach the distance between me and my friends, and who knows – between me and other people. Between me and everyone!
Is that what makes someone write? That need to bridge the gap?