I am posting this on behalf of my dowager aunt, Miss Anthropy, who has taken quite a shine to e2, and has lately noted a propensity and proliferation of a certain kind of (what she calls) essay.

She has dictated the following to me whilst reclining on a cream-coloured velvet settee, garbed in her favorite evening wear - a red satin smoking jacket, black silk chemise and kung-fu pants, and her red maribou mules. She is smoking a Sobranie in a cigarette holder, her silver-grey hair is still immaculately coiffed a la Bettie Page. Her elaborate makeup is just slightly smudged with the exertions of another day on planet Earth. Her voice is lightly smoked but still smooth and lush - like the very best lox.

She is giving me her best Greta Garbo look now - and so we begin:

Dear Ones,

I have noticed an alarming propensity in today's youth, you electric children of the night with your clattering and clittering keyboards racing promiscuously to reach through the ether and connect with kindred spirits in their own disembodied mania to be made whole...

Ahhh... Where was I? Yes.

Yes, you electric children. Your security is here, no? In the ether. In the, as you call it, on line. Yet your deepest heartbreaks are visceral. Physical. Immediate. Of the world. The world around you, which you grasp in hungry hands and gaze at with hungry eyes.

And so why, why, why do you seek to heal your heart's wounds in another realm altogether, especially if it is new and unfamiliar to you? You emit your pain and angst to strangers among whom you yourself are a stranger. You arrive at this doorstep, cold and weary and fatigued with misery, and throw yourself into the airy arms of... What? If anything, the fabled Gentle Reader, who will nod and smile and embrace your words, enmeshing them with their own memory, fixing and memorializing your pain by their shared experience in the reading of it - so that you can move on.

That is your intention, no?

And yet, dear heart - and yet. These are not gentle readers you find yourself among. They are people, harsh and sweet, cold and warm, soft and hard, and everything in between. They are the same people you passed on your way home and to the keyboard which is your instrument. And they are as much devils and angels as your poor broken heart feels itself mortally wounded.

Do not come here, my darling, seeking to discharge the furies which ride your harried mind and soul.

If you do seek to cathect them by brave ink and pen, come to embrace them in intimate mortal combat. To understand them, to ride through them as a brave equestrian in a storm. But as in all fairylands, there are rules here: you must tell it as a good story, or song, or verse. Anything else may cause you to be found as cold and shiveringly lone as you were hence you came here. And Miss Anthropy, though she relishes her own solitude, will weep to see you thusly.

So hear her, dear one. Hear her. Come when you are ready to write. Come when you are ready for the power of the pen, and for the not-so-Gentle Reader, whose love is ferocious and unkind and merciful and passionate and ungentle and real, just like that which has just wounded you so. Come when you are ready for that.

Until then, she has a few suggested alternatives to spewing one's heartbreak all over the ether like a cup of Earl Grey into which one's useless niece has poured some of her godless skim milk. (ed. note: Thank you, thank you.)

  1. Never underestimate the healing power of fire. By which I mean to recommend a small bonfire and some symbolic immolations, not grand arson or anything harmful, mind.

  2. Rejection/dejection is not a cause for self-hatred. It is time to go shopping, and to give yourself a little love.

  3. Keep a journal. Bits of it will be very useful to you in the near future. The rest will make you cringe, but that's also quite necessary. Even exquisite love-gods and love-goddesses like yourselves need to be grounded every once and again.

  4. Also never underestimate the healing power of water. She doesn't care what gender you are, Miss Anthropy holds that there's very little that a hot bubble bath and a healthy portion of whiskey or champagne can't make to feel better.

  5. Read Hangover Cure first.

  6. Do not confuse the death of a relationship with the death of your romantic aspirations for your life. They are not the same. Never mourn the dream. It cannot be killed.

  7. When was the last time you really, really talked with your mother? She loves you, you know.

  8. The best place to write about your broken heart is in bar or cafe fashionable with the literati and its assorted groupies. You will be tortured, heartbroken, intense, irresistable, unforgettable. And if anyone approaches you, you can fix them with a pained gaze, and whisper "I shall never love again, just so you know." This is almost guaranteed to lead to a date.

  9. Believe. Never stop believing. Even if you must pretend momentarily to survive, never stop believing. Promise Miss Anthropy. Promise yourself.

  10. Did she mention not to post and-or otherwise discharge this remarkable energy in a gratuitous public display of angst? It's far too much energy to be dispensed so flagrantly. Wouldn't you rather learn to play the violin, and practice in midnight cemeteries? To dance like the devil, or to paint, to sculpt, or just to run like a wild thing through the night-filtered streets? Get out of the house. Go now. Live.


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