>The Procession of the Simulacrum in Practice and Our Counteraction

>About a month ago I sent out an annoyingly large number of mass messages telling people to give me their addresses and I would write them letters.

I wrote around 40 letters. I wrote until my hand cramped. I wrote letters at 4 in the morning when I couldn't focus on the tasks at hand after the jittery stage of a caffeine rush had passed and the achey stage had set in. I wrote until I had no more words left to say. I wrote letters to 5 different states, to people I hadn't talked to in at least ten years, to old friends, to new friends, to family, to strangers. I formulated an Aristotelian logic proof about the existence of Santa Clause, condensed high school into a page and half of rambling, and stream-of-consciousness'ed about everything from the weather to my heart-wrenching obsession with Lovedrug. I filled blank pages with pieces of me and sent them on their ways. I may have even made somebody smile.

Although it may sound like it, this is not about me - something I have been working on quite hard lately. On the contrary: this is the nature of people. We live in the Facebook era, where connections are infinite but people are disappearing. We are reduced to icons. To thumbnail pictures and those parts of our ourselves we choose to share. I am no longer me, I am what the internet says about me; moreover, I am what I have TOLD the internet to say about me. We are forced to present ourselves as flawless to fit the flawless standards thrust in our faces, so we leave out the parts about how we sometimes get sad for no reason or we crop our bodies out of our pictures or call makeup beauty.

After we are all done creating these images of ourselves, we communicate through devices and with mere empty words with other people who have constructed hollow conceptions of themselves, making it not human contact but just contact.

Welcome to the desert of the real
to the great purge of humanity
to we who are not ourselves

So the stark interruption of ink engraved into a blank page, handwriting exposed, bits of our souls clinging to the ridges and wrinkles and tactility of the paper laden with character and passion intervenes in the terrible aforementioned procession. It bypasses all projections of who we want people to see and lays bare in a way only matched by coffeeshop conversations the intensity and beauty of who we are. It is as personal a thing you can do for someone in this day of anti-personal connection. It is, by today's standards, imperfect, and therefore perfect in its imperfection. We have a long way to go to reverse the heavy weight of conceptions and false perceptions of beauty, but if everybody started writing each other letters, I can't see how it'd be a bad start.

Hamilton Barber

The subject of this page is an introverted writer/musician/lunatic from Chattanooga, TN who dabbles in lexical dexterity, unorthodox thoughts on prosperity, and being overwhelmingly undeserving of the privilege of waking up every day. He hopes that everybody who reads these words takes them to heart and leaps higher than he ever could. He reads, thinks, and speaks too much; he listens, works, and loves too little; and he says “I” entirely too often. The words on these pages are not his: they are the words that were given to him.