Elan Morgan is a writer and web designer who works from Elan.Works, a designer and editor at GenderAvenger, and a speaker who has spoken across North America. They believe in and work to grow both personal and professional quality, genuine community, and meaningful content online.

I Am A Doubleplus Cheesehead And A Letter To Someone Who Used To Own A Second-Hand Book I Bought

Since I don’t usually update two days in a row, I will give you an opportunity to head back to yesterday’s third instalment of my crazy chronicles to peruse at your liesure.

I wrote this stupid letter to someone I don’t even know, and regardless of the nerdiness of the endeavour, I have chosen to post it here for all to read. Why? Because we’ve all wondered where those second-hand books we buy once lived, who held them, what that person might have thought of the book. So, I wrote Vivien J. Pritchard a letter. Vivien J. Pritchard could be dead, have moved away, be a male, be a female, I have no idea. It’s almost like making somebody up. Anyway, I mailed this thing last week. I addressed it to “to whom it may concern” and left the name off the front of the envelope just so that whoever lives at the address opens it, be they a Vivien or not. I’m curious about whether I will receive a reply or not. Somehow it would be way cooler if someone other than Vivien wrote back.

To whom it may concern:

I am not sure at all how to begin such a letter, so I will start by way of introducing myself. My name is Schmutzie, and I live in Cityville, Provinceplace. My reason for writing to you is a simple one. I was in a used book shop several months ago in Cosmopolis and picked out a copy of Doris Lessing’s The Memoirs of a Survivor.

Today, I was looking along my bookshelves, trying to decide which book I would read next, when I came across this one. I had almost forgotten that I had bought it, and I had to dust it off before opening the cover. Inside, on the very first page, the one on which the Houston Chronicle or the New York Times Book Review proclaim the book’s greatness, was rubber stamped a name and an address. I prefer used books over new, and so I have come across people’s names, wellwishings, and old hand-printed prices many times and wondered who these people were. This time around, I thought, why not? Why not write Vivien J. Pritchard of Anotherspot, Provincelot a note?

So, here I am. You are likely wondering why I would bother to write a letter to someone I have never met from a place I have never been who may not even live there anymore. It’s simple. I am only part way through the book, but I have already been thoroughly drawn in by it. Had The Memoirs of a Survivor not been in the used book store in Cosmopolis on that weekend when I happened to be visiting, I probably never would have had the joy of reading it. Thank you. Thank you for being a link in the series of events that put it on my bookshelf.

Sincerely,
Schmutzie

P.S. If you are reading this and you are not Vivien J. Pritchard, I am not surprised. My particular edition of the book came out in 1976, so Mr. or Mrs. Pritchard could be anywhere by now.

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