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Dear James,

The following quote has been attributed to you but I’m not sure if you actually said it as there’s some debate online regarding its origin.

Am I in love? Absolutely. I’m in love with ancient philosophers, foreign painters, classic authors, and musicians who have died long ago. I’m a passionate lover. I fawn over these people. I have given them my heart and my soul. The trouble is, I’m unable to love anyone tangible. I have sacrificed a physical bond, for a metaphysical relationship. I am the ultimate idealistic lover.

For the sake of this letter and my sanity I’m going to assume that those words did spring from that solitary, sensitive soul of yours, because mine is the same and boy did you articulate what I’ve being dying to shout to this goddam lousy world the whole time. Even if I did, no-one would listen because they’re all too damn busy teaching us to be more sociable, socialise, speak up in class, network at work…except people like Susan Cain, she’s one of us and she understands. I’m reading her book Quiet, you’ll like it. God, writing to you makes me feel like I’m in a YA novel.

You know who else you’ll like? Lana Del Rey. That girl has a degree in metaphysics, not to mention a Nabokov tattoo—she’s a bona fide queen to millennials who a) are capable of experiencing great emotion, b) have sophisticated taste in music, and c) appreciate her for what she is: a living piece of art. I’m not sure about her friend James Franco though, artistically he’s all over the place so you’ll just have to meet him. A little heads up: he portrayed you in a movie about your life.

I don’t know how I’ve managed to talk more about people I’ve never even met than myself in a personal letter addressed to you but I do know why—they all have such rich interior lives, and I’m thankful to them, as I’m to you, for putting their artistic expression out there for people like me to find solace in.

Actually, James, this letter is to be posted on my blog (think of it as an open book the whole world can read), devoted to expressing thoughts and feelings I can’t air without subjecting myself to stares and awkward dinner table pauses. It’s not cool, when the conversation veers to you, to wax fanatical about the verve of a Van Gogh or the accidental brilliance of a Warhol exhibition ending, as exhibitions do, in a gift shop were mass-produced, mutated versions of his art are there to be consumed by the masses; no, one must strive to commiserate over skyrocketing property prices, tell tantalising tales of co-workers’ crazy antics, lament the inevitable arrival of Monday. But you already know this.

Since we’re on the subject of loving artists in a world that often overlooks them and belittles their craft unless many-digited price tags and names like Picasso are thrown around, you should know that I am depthlessly, foolishly in love with a dead writer and I like it. What’s the point of dating or having a relationship with someone who doesn’t ache at Beauty and can’t ever hope to match my emotional capacity? If I wanted a living, breathing thing to hold and love I’ll get a dog. Besides, if I were ever inebriated enough to confess to a boy that I felt the lonely pain in Jake Bugg’s songs so acutely at his concert that I wanted to drag a razor across my wrist while my eyes are fixed on his, a pledge of loyalty, devotion, and admiration in blood, he’d block me immediately—with good reason—and henceforth refer to me to his friends during self-righteous anecdotes as ‘that crazy, suicidal bitch’, so really, me being perennially off the dating market is for the greater good.

Maybe we’re the crazy ones, but I wouldn’t swap this loony ol’ head o’ mine for anything and gut feeling says neither would you. Maybe I’ll meet you one day; till then, I’ll manage.

From 2016 with love,


P.S. Come December, just before Christmas, I’ll be older than you ever became, and the thought of that fills me with lingering regret.