Letters with Literary Character

Ben Green­man, a fic­tion writer and edi­tor at the New York­er, has a short sto­ry col­lec­tion com­ing out this June. What He’s Poised To Do makes let­ters and let­ter-writ­ing a the­mat­ic focus, and even before its offi­cial pub­li­ca­tion, Green­man’s col­lec­tion has inspired a blog that encour­ages every­day peo­ple to write let­ters to great lit­er­ary char­ac­ters. The sam­ple below gives you the gist of the project … and then some. If so inspired, send your own let­ter to: LettersWithCharacter@gmail.com.

Ernest Hem­ing­way | The Sun Also Ris­es | 1926

Dear Brett,

I find myself in the hor­ri­ble posi­tion of telling you what a tru­ly ter­ri­ble human being you are. I know what you’re doing with Jake and Robert when you’re very much engaged to Michael. Now, don’t give me any sob sto­ry about how you lost your “only true love” at such a young age. This gives you NO right to be a tramp. Also, half the women in Paris would agree that you are NOT charm­ing when you are drunk like you think you are. In fact I would go as far as to say you are repul­sive in all forms of the word. Occa­sion­al­ly, I cringe when you speak because it is always to use some­one. You’re despi­ca­ble. Dis­gust­ing. You’re a pedan­tic wee­nie.

Alexan­dria Smith

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.