Today's letter is by me. I started writing it a month or so ago, on a bench in the back yard of the Seagull Inn in Mendocino, California. It's addressed to Stephen Osborne, who wrote that great open letter about scooters and stigmata a couple of weeks ago, and it's reprinted, with Stephen's permission, from issue #38 of Geist magazine, which Stephen edits, and which is making its way to subscribers and newsstands as we speak.
If you are not currently resident in Canada, or what the Geist web site describes, nicely, as "the imaginary country that many of us inhabit from time to time [which often] has something to do with some part of Canada," then you may not know about Geist. If this is the case, may I recommend that you send five dollars, in American funds if you are in the United States and in Canadian funds if you are in Canada, to:
103 - 1014 Homer Street
and ask them to send you a copy of issue #38, a special issue commemorating Geist's tenth anniversary. You will find in that issue a version of today's letter (though without the part about the Simpsons, or the fire; that got added last night, which makes Geist's version, arguably, purer), as well as a reprint of Ian Brown's letter about quitting writing, as well as plenty more fine writing by writers I don't know, but should, plus photos.
If you are in neither the United States or Canada - if you are, for instance, Matovu Abubakar, of Kampala, Uganda, who subscribed this week to the Open Letters daily reminder, or Sara Sebastiao of Vila Velha de Rodao, Portugal, who wrote us back in July to complain that we'd skipped a day and to say that as a result she had become "very confused about time linearity" - then I would recommend that you send to the address above something that you believe to be equivalent in value to issue #38 of Geist; I am certain they will be reasonable about it, on their end.
Four other things:
1. The link for that McSweeney's thing by Dan Kennedy is right here.
2. This letter is part of our weeklong series of letters by previously contributing correspondents. My last contribution was this letter, on coincidence.
3. Tomorrow, this returning-correspondent thing concludes with a letter from Paul Maliszewski, about driving a giant moving truck. That letter is a sequel to his letter about the giant moving sale.
4. I'd like to extend a big plate of thanks to Liz Clayton of Toronto, whom I'm never met, but who kindly offered, when Craig Taylor left town, to take on the task of creating the little magenta headlines that sit atop each day's letter. (They're not simple html text; they can only be created in Photoshop 5.5, with a bewildering complement of Taylor-chosen effects, including "anti-aliasing" and "faux-bold.") Liz has been crafting them for the past couple of weeks, and even though we have a bad habit of deciding on headlines at the last minute, they're always on time and perfect and nice-looking, and she never asks for anything in return. Is this the internet economy in action, or what?