The Music of the Mail: Box Full of Letters by Wilco

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I have a box full of letters. I've had several over the years. They document many friendships, my family history, and my old relationships. Some of the letters are beloved. Some of them are cringeworthy. They all document a different part of my life and the other lives that helped shape mine. 

I've been writing letters since I was about six years old. My first pen pal and I wrote letters like: "Hi, how are you? I'm fine. I like puppies. Do you like puppies? I love you. Bye." They were beautiful. I still have a few of them. (Shout out to you, Sarah!)

I have letters from my Grandma Jean that mean the world to me now that she's gone. They weren't effusive or filled with wisdom for my adult life, but they show her particular love for me. I cherish them like I cherished her. 

I revisit letters from friendships and relationships that have ended, looking for clarity. Looking for "a lot of answers to...all these questions being directed at me." It's tempting to look to these relics of the past for evidence that I've grown.

All of these things I've shared are reasons I think it's worthwhile to be a little sentimental and keep evidence of feelings and words exchanged in your own box of letters. But the part of this song that keeps me coming back for future listens is this: "I can't find the time, to write my mind, the way I want it to read." This may be the truest thing I've ever heard about sending mail.

It's emotionally expensive to spend time gathering your thoughts to write and send words of love, encouragement, and support. We don't always know the right thing to say or how to say it - especially when someone you care about is going through a hard time. It can be nerve wracking to risk saying the wrong thing, and tempting to say nothing at all. 

I can't guarantee that your effort to send letters will always feel worth it. I can't promise that you'll never put your foot in your mouth, or that you won't feel rejected if they don't write back. There will never be enough time to write exactly the write words, in exactly the right way, at exactly the right time. In your struggle, don't forget that it's like this for all of us. Sending letters is an extension of our relationships, and relationships are tricky business. I'll always wish there were a few more words in my vocabulary and a few more hours in the day so I can make sure to "do it right." But like everything else in life, doing what you can is better than letting fear keep you from making an effort. "You'll come back again, and I'll still be your friend."

Got a box full of letters,
Think you might like to read
Some things that you might like to see,
But they're all addressed to me

Wish I had a lotta answers,
'Cause that's the way it should be
For all these questions,
Being directed at me

I just can't find the time
To write my mind
The way I want it to read

You'll come back again
And I'll still be your friend

I got a lot of your records,
In a separate stack
Some things that I might like to hear,
But I guess I'll give 'em back

I wish I had a lotta answers,
'Cause that's the way it should be
All these questions
Being directed at me

Just can't find the time
To write my mind
The way I want it to read

You'll come back again,
And I'll still be your friend

I can't find the time
To write my mind
The way I want it to read

Just can't find the time
To write my mind
The way I want it to read