Dear Reader [Including those of you who gave their last full measure of devotion in the War on Christmas and those unsung heroes of the forgotten War to Save Thanksgiving],
I’m writing this from a park bench right by the royal palace in Madrid. The little concrete and brown dirt plaza I’m sitting in is apparently a make-do dog park, which is nice because I miss my canine quadrupeds quite a bit. The dogs are centered around a statue of a soldier. If I weren’t in Spain, I’d assume it was a member of the French foreign legion. But that would be odd. I’ll get up and read the plaque in a bit and let you know what it is.
That’s the funny thing about this kind of writing. I can get up, find out what the statue is about, go back and delete a couple sentences and make it seem like I knew what the statue was all along. But the whole point of this “news”letter is that it’s supposed to be stream of consciousness (okay, maybe not the whole point, but certainly a defining feature, like the nudity and Aramaic puns). The “news”—often silent—is in quotation marks, not the letter.
If I were writing in a journal with ink, I couldn’t go back and amend the sentence without creating a mess of cross-outs. But with a computer, you can sort of go back in time and clean up your mistakes, leaving the reader none the wiser. Of course, you could achieve the same effect with paper and ink, too. It would just require a lot more effort; writing a messy draft or two and then rewriting a final clean version in which the stream-of-consciousness seems more real by being more fake.