Dear Reader: In Reply to Your Correspondence

Hi! Sorry to keep you waiting.

I keep trying and failing to map out an adequate preamble to any of this, so here goes. If you wrote to me after 665 ended and never heard back, this is a letter to you.

The things I want to tell you are: thank you, and I’m sorry. I’ll start with the sorry.

I’m sorry I never wrote back. Sometimes it was a missive asking me to start making things again, sometimes just a bit of a check-in, sometimes just saying you’re out there and you had occasion to think about me and wondered what I was up to these days. In any event, I can tell you that I read every one. If you didn’t get a bounceback message, I read it, and it made my day. The tangle of reasons why I didn’t write back, even just briefly to say thanks, was a whole mountainous mess of my own horseshit problems and I think explication of them would sound too much like an attempt to excuse it, and I don’t want to do that. What I’ll say is that avoidant behavior loops and shame spirals and procrastination bouts that go on for years at a stretch are killer, and they can be a sign there’s something else going on that maybe needs attention. Little tip from your old pal JSP. Anyway, what matters here is: You took the time out of your day to drop me a line and said something nice – that’s the thing, everyone who said anything at all said something nice – you said something that meant a lot to me, and probably made me cry a little, and you deserved more than silence in return.

That said: Thank you. I’m serious about crying. I was dealing with a lot, including a big sloppy helping of despair. Maybe you can relate: despair is sometimes situational and specific, and sometimes it’s this big thorny existential thing that orbits a few core areas of you but largely it’s nameless and formless and it’s just sort of there. It can be both, even, and then they do a whole tag team thing and, okay you get it. It’s not like I didn’t notice that every so often I’d get just enough oomph to start making declarations that I was going to start making things again soon and then I’d turn around and it was a year later and I had maybe a couple beginnings of something sitting in a sketchbook I promised myself I’d get back to one of these days. Faith in myself was something I rebuilt extremely gradually and in a lot of quiet and not super visible ways. It was a little spark, a tiny cinder, and I am not kidding when I say that every time I noticed another email coming in with a subject like “Is this JSP?” or “sixsixfive” or what have you, I read it, and I felt really bad about not replying, but it stayed with me that you were out there, that you remembered me, and that you liked the work I did. On more than one occasion I got overcome and just broke down crying with gratitude, despite everything. Every time I heard from you, that little cinder either glowed a little more strongly, or it stopped the fading it was in the middle of. So if you wrote and wondered if your message reached me: It did, in so many ways. I’ve carried your correspondence with me in my heart and head and I cannot thank you enough.

A bunch of other stuff happened too, in the intervening years. There’s some catching up that’ll show up in subsequent entries on this site, and I’m trying to lay it out in a way that’s workable and not boring. But when I sat down to start writing, I knew where I needed to start, and it’s with you, and the reply I didn’t send until now. I’m sorry, and from the bottom of my heart: thank you. And thank you for liking the stuff I made, and caring enough to say so. Twenty (!) years after I started dorking around with my little orange website, there are some novelties which have never worn off. To this day it just absolutely floors me to think I could type some words or upload some scribbles into my computer and it could reach someone out there and connect with them – with you – in whatever way. I sincerely think that’s miraculous and I never feel any less of a sense of wonder about it than I did the first time it happened.

Thank you for your patience and thank you for reading and, above all, thank you for being you. I’ll write more soon.

Yrs,
JSP

4 thoughts on “Dear Reader: In Reply to Your Correspondence

  1. Tia

    Hey, no response ever required. Thank you for playing such a towering role in my early experiences on the internet. I heard a lot from you then–665 times, more or less. I hope when you read this you’re having an easy day, or if not, that this message in a bottle brings some warmth.

    Reply
  2. Miles

    I think about sixsixfive.com and yourself quite often. There are very few websites from my formative years that I think about. I have a natural tendency to avoid feelings of nostalgia but when it comes to sixsixfive I always let them in. Archive.org is a wonderful resource for this.

    I often think about the wonderful things I discovered through sixsixfive, things both of yours and of others: King Missile, ‘I LIEK MEAT’, Safety Tips from Anubis, Kaiju Big Battel, Hulkster in Heaven, Ways to Die, and probably more that I’m not thinking of and often wonder about how I ever found them in the first place.

    But I’m writing specifically to let you know how I feel about ‘Ted’. ‘Ted’ had a very profound effect on my life. What exactly that effect was, I can’t actually say, but I know that, above all else, ‘Ted’ has really stuck with me. I think about it regularly. I hope one day to leave something to the world and others that can touch them in the way ‘Ted’ has me.

    I look forward to reading more from you in the future.

    If that never happens, I must still say Thank You for what you have already given me.

    Reply
  3. Amy

    Hawwwww I’ve thought of 665 often through the years. You definitely touched many lives, glad your weird brain is still in our orbit.

    Reply

Leave a Reply to Tia Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


6 × = forty eight