The historical St. Valentine was clubbed to death, you know. (Lynne Truss)
This book is so rad. I bought it for myself after I got completely, totally, unabashedly DUMPED a month or so earlier – wwwwaaaaaaayyyy back in the day. Not surprisingly, this book made me feel better. Luckily for you folks, it’s now on sale for $1.03 (NEW!) over at Amazon. Go there and get it. Now.
The editor of the anthology was inspired by the responses she received from her girlfriends when she forwarded them the letter she wrote to her ex after a disappointing break up. It contains 356 letters of love, hatred, anger, disappointment, disgust, and rejection (and everything in between) written by women when SHIT GOT CRAZY with their lovers, suitors, or husbands. Both sent and unsent, the letters come from folks like Anne Boleyn to Henry VIII and Monica Lewinsky to Bill Clinton. Too many famous females to name here – writers, poets, and other infamous dames in between are included, as well as unknown (though equally scorned) women. The anthology is divided into 13 sections, chronologically arranged, according to types, from "Marriage Refusals” to "Dear Johns" to the "Tell-Off" (my personal favorite).
So can I get a fist pump for the single ladies? This one’s for you.
Oh, and here’s a sampling of two of my personal faves – one by the passion driven bad-ass, Anais Nin, and one that could have just as easily been written by me or any one of my girlfriends. It takes on a familiarity that knows no bounds. Enjoy.
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A series of letters from Delta of Venus (1977) writer Anaïs Nin (1903-1977) to society man and sometime poet C. L. (Lanny) Baldwin. According to Noël Riley Fitch's Anaïs: The Erotic Life of Anaïs Nin (Little Brown, 1993), the two became involved in 1944, after the married Baldwin invited Nin to dinner following a meeting in Manhattan's Gotham Book Mart. Later that year, Nin published a book of Baldwin's poetry, Quinquivara, to which she wrote the introduction and her husband contributed six engravings. (At the time of their affair, Nin was married to Hugo Guiler, a filmmaker, engraver, and illustrator known professionally as Ian Hugo.) The two parted romantically in August 1945, when Baldwin, torn with ambivalence over their relationship, returned to his wife and children. Baldwin responded to this letter, saying that he felt that Nin was "a kind of dog in the manger with men. You want them all to sit at your feet and be yours, all yours and only yours." His response to the second letter was to say "Is there to be no way of settling things without going to blows and insults? Can you kick me off your planet? Can I pull a switch and consign you to the proper section of hell?"
They resumed contact a few months later, mostly in regards to business matters and monies owed to Baldwin from her publishing imprint.
My poor Lanny, how blind you are! A woman is jealous only when she has nothing, but I who am the most loved of all women, what can I be jealous of? I gave you up long ago, as you well know, also I refused you the night you wept-I only extended the friendship as I told you then until you found what you wanted-When you did I withdrew it merely because I have no time for dead relationships. The day I discovered your deadness-long ago-my illusion about you died and I knew you could never enter my world, which you wanted so much. Because my world is based on passion, and because you know that it is only with passion that one creates, and you know that my world which you now deride because you couldn't enter it, made Henry [Miller] a great writer, because you know the other young men you are so jealous of enter a whole world by love and are writing books, producing movies, poems, paintings, composing music.
I am in no need of "insisting" upon being loved. I'm immersed and flooded in this. That is why I am happy and full of power and find friendship pale by comparison.
But in the middle of this fiery and marvellous give and take, going out with you was like going out with a priest. The contrast in temperature was too great. So I waited for my first chance to break-not wanting to leave you alone.
You ought to know my value better than to think I can be jealous of the poor American woman who has lost her man to me continually since I am here-
[postmarked August 26, 1945]
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From Kylie, 28, a resident of Queensland, Australia, to her ex-fiancé, Jamie*, in January 1999. Kylie sent Jamie this letter through his lawyer who, she says, found it "quite amusing." "I didn't have the heart to delete it and every time I feel depressed I open it and read it again," says Kylie. "It always makes me feel better and reminds me that even though things are tough, they used to be a lot worse." After receiving it, she says, Jamie "apparently swore quite profusely, then tore it up and threw it at the woman who gave it to him."
I missed you today, I missed you yesterday and with any luck I won't see you tomorrow either. I am writing this letter for two reasons. I am writing it because I want to thank you and I am writing it because I never want to speak to you ever again.
I want to thank you for being so selfish, otherwise I would never have known what I was going without.
I want to thank you for being so rude, otherwise I would never have learned to appreciate the good manners and politeness my parents instilled in me.
I want to thank you for spending all our money on crap, otherwise I would never have been able to justify the hire cost of a trailer to transport it all to the rubbish tip [garbage dump].
I want to thank you for running our phone bill up so high, otherwise I would never have learned to appreciate the visits of my friends (as they can't phone me, they visit instead. Or is that just because you're no longer here?).
I want to thank you for leaving me in so much debt the car has now been repossessed, otherwise I would never have lost so much weight by walking everywhere.
I want to thank you for telling all your friends that I was such an evil person, basically because I don't like any of them any more than I like you and I no longer have to deal with them either.
I want to thank you for telling me that our daughter was 'the biggest mistake you ever made', otherwise I would wonder how to explain to her why you're no longer here.
I want to thank you for leaving me with the kids while you went for a holiday overseas to meet the woman you hooked up with in a chat room, otherwise I would never have realised how well I could do without you and would probably still be putting up with your crap now.
Mostly, I just want to thank you for getting the hell out of our lives. We're so much happier now and the house is filled with the sound of the kids' laughter instead of the sound of you yelling at them to shut up.
In closing, all I can say is that after all these years you finally did something right and I hope your new girlfriend appreciates it as much as I do.
PS: You know that burning sensation you thought was an STD and you were too afraid to tell me about it? I put Tiger Balm in your jocks!
Posted by Meganithappen at 1:35 PM