"I'm not in the best of states right now. Winter is hard for me under any circumstances, but right now I'm trapped in a college I hate, and that makes it even worse. I've worked myself into a rut where I only think the same thoughts over and over-- most of these center around how worthless and purposeless my life is. I was, and am, fading fast."
X-From_: firstname.lastname@example.org Mon Nov 24 16:39:24 1997
Date: Tue, 25 Nov 97 00:39:21 GMT
From: DeltaNet Form Processor (email@example.com)
Subject: Feedback and or Questions
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comments="Out of sheer pessimism and boredom, I decided to ignore my homework for a bit and surf the web instead to look for gloomy websites. I typed suicide + literature into the search engine, expecting to get a bunch of links to Sylvia Plath sites. One of the first listed sites was your Ernest Hemingway page. Once I got to it, I was intruiged, and somehow got back to your "Thoughts Worth Thinking" page.
I'm not in the best of states right now. Winter is hard for me under any circumstances, but right now I'm trapped in a college I hate, and that makes it even worse. I've worked myself into a rut where I only think the same thoughts over and over-- most of these center around how worthless and purposeless my life is. I was, and am, fading fast. I just want to thank you for taking the time to construct this elaborate, extensive site. There's so much in here that I want to copy down into my notebook-- I'm putting a bookmark down so I can come directly back here anytime and read some more. Seeing the work of a dedicated, loving individual, and reading the things you've chosen to include in this site, give me some kind of hope for humankind, the future, and possibly my place within both. You touched a life today. Thank you.
How is life treating you?="Life pats me on the head and in return I kick it in the shins. In terms of external events, my life is wonderful. In terms of how I deal with it and my emotions, my life is terrible. Trying to reconcile my feelings with my "outside" life is one of my goals right now-- I'm not doing so hot at bringing it about, though. Somehow I've got to make the internal and the external correspond."
Findout="Quite by accident"
After a hard day at work, it is especially nice to come home and read your e-mail. Although it does not snow out here in Los Angeles, winters can be rough anyway - dark early, relatively cold, cabin fever, etc. But there is a tone in your message which leaves me alarmed and wanting to scream across the Internet at you to have faith!
I was just today thinking what age I would want the ideal person to be surfing my pages. I came to the conclusion that this person would be 23 or 24 years old. Any older and they have already made up their minds and are more interested in making money than thinking, in my experience. Any younger and they can't quite grasp much of it. But I think the college age is good, and it is no coincidence that most of the "Thoughts Worth Thinking" section I collected during an intense period at the end of my college career.
If you have a free moment, check out the following two URLs which I wrote lately:
You might find them of interest in your present state of mind.
B.-, your e-mail makes me think back some. I swear to God I was such an uptight and nervous creature when I was younger. I am absolutely no position to give you advice or anything - and I am sure they have services for all that at Goucher University if you feel the need for professional help. On the other hand, I was never much of a believer in counseling - I always believed (mistakenly perhaps) that a person through literature, friends, etc. could work out their own existential questions. I would say just a few things to you, if I may:
Few things are really important in the end. But perhaps there is nothing more important than having meaning in your life. What does it matter if all the external is great and inside you are unhappy? Find what makes you happy and screw the rest! Or if there are certain things in your life you don't like (ie. college), find a way to make it bearable. My mom used to tell me all the time when I would get all upset: "Don't sweat the little stuff, kid! And it is all little stuff!" Of course that is easier said than done.
For example, plan your next summer vacation in Europe! I had some of the most rewarding times of my life there when I was about your age and I cannot recommend traveling at your age highly enough (have you thought about a junior year abroad?). Read my adventures in Europe and think about doing the same in Europe, Mexico, or wherever! Go and check out the sunrise in Cairo, or hear Mozart in a five hundred year old church in Austria!
I am going to spend this summer driving around the US for two months on a motorcycle just having adventures! Yet right now I am grinding away at a job I don't particularly like. But soon enough I will have earned my time in the sun. I like the way Jerome Lawrence put it, "Yes! Life is a banquet, and most poor sons-of-bitches are starving to death! Live!"
I hope you read Plath and Hemingway with the knowledge that art was not enough for them - there need be more. But we live in a wide and wonderful world with as many beautiful and noble people as evil and mindlessly violent predators. Each one of us has the power to control our own destinies if we have the strength to fight and keep going. Getting out of a rut can be hard with momentum, etc., but even in the most unlikely places we find teachers, beauty, lovers, fate, if we only open our eyes sometimes. And even in the sharp sadness there is ineffable beauty. The adult world is not that of Walt Disney and smiles and everything is OK forever after. Adult life has dark passions, knowledge which brings sadness, wounds to the soul. We see that, no, the world doesn't revolve around us and, no, we are not going to live forever. But every single one of us is unique and special and the world would be the less without us, trust me on this. If you are a little patient and let life show you its beauty (after this winter ends), I can almost guarantee that you will have some awesome moments in the next few years. I can say really no more than that, and will let the many webpages I have posted which show beauty and love speak for me.
B.-, I have had many a dark night so far in my life (and continue to do so). Yet I have found so many friends in philosophy and literature to arm me against such nights that I am never without hope. And it would give me much pleasure to think that I had been able to turn another person to these same heroes of the mind and soul. Come back and visit my pages anytime you want to read the words of a friend (and a generally "dedicated, loving individual" who wishes you well). And I apologize for rambling here.
Very Truly Yours,
P.S. Go check out the pages of my friend Joe at The Highrock Cafe if you ever want to read more kind words on the Web written for thoughtful persons such as yourself.