Monday, August 11, 2014

TCR Great Essays (#2): "How I Lost My Pen-Pal; or, Toward a Luddite Manifesto" by John Crutchfield

Writer and theater artist John Crutchfield
"In the age of e-mail and text-messaging, of Twitter and Facebook and their spin-offs, and of whatever has already come next that I don’t yet know about, hand-written letters have become a bit like dropping in on your neighbors unannounced: the idea sounds wholesome and warm and humane in a Leave It To Beaver kind of way, but the reality freaks people out," writes John Crutchfield in "How I Lost My Pen-Pal: or, Toward a Luddite Manifesto."

In this superb essay, Crutchfield recalls how his correspondence with a young woman he met at a theater festival abruptly ended after he shifted his side of the exchanges from e-mail to paper and pen. He uses this experience as a starting point from which he examines, with great insight and a generous amount of wit, the vast differences between communicating electronically and sending a letter.

"[I]f scary old Marshall McLuhan is right,and the medium really is the message, then writing someone a letter, regardless of its content, carries the meta-communicative meaning of: 'I am a real person, and you are a real person to me.' An email or text-message, by contrast, because of its digital and hence abstract form, says only, 'I am language,'" writes Crutchfield.

John Crutchfield is a writer and theater artist. His play Come Thick Night, a mash-up of Shakespeare, Ingmar Bergman, and Elvis, will be presented at the FringeNYC theater festival in New York later this month.

A long time resident of North Carolina, Crutchfield currently lives in Germany. The theme of "How I Lost My Pen-Pal" was on his mind for two decades, roughly since the internet began making inroads into his home turf in the Blue Ridge Mountains. He started writing the essay several years ago. "The real impetus to finish it came when I moved to Berlin toward the end of last year," Crutchfield explained to The Committee Room. "All at once the theme of correspondence gained a renewed importance for me, an existential importance, as it were, and I found myself with both the time and the peculiar state-of-mind necessary for thinking essay through to its end."        

Crutchfield's interest in books and writing began in childhood. "Even before I could write I used to fashion little books out of scraps of paper. When I was old enough, my parents gave me a stapler for Christmas, which made my bookbinding work much more efficient," Crutchfield recalls. An undergraduate creative writing course at the University of North Carolina got him writing in earnest. "I wasn't any good, but it felt good to write, and somehow I knew I had begun something I would give up only at my own grave spiritual peril--an even graver peril than if I didn't give it up, which I suppose is what makes one a writer," he says.  

When asked about working in so many different genres Crutchfield says that "all my 'public' writing (poems, plays, essays, stories) originates in trouble: something troubles me, upsets or disturbs me, something won't leave me alone. And while there may be an objective thing in the world that sets it off, really the trouble is on the inside, or rather, on the 'other' side. I write to try to open up a dialogue with it, invite it to come forth, give it objective form in language, turn it over, see if I can arrive at some kind of understanding, even if it's only the 'negative' understanding of the limits of my own understanding. Most things are, after all, pretty mysterious." 

Crutchfield cites James Agee's Let Us Now Praise Famous Men as his favorite work of non-fiction. "It is simply the most preposterously beautiful, weird and devastating book I've ever read. It's the only book I've ever read cover-to-cover-to-cover-to-cover-to-cover-to-cover. (That's right: three times in a row)," he says. Other favorites when it comes to non-fiction are David Foster Wallace, the 18th century essayists Addison and Steele, Samuel Johnson, Walter Benjamin, Robert Walser, and Albert Camus. "You will rightly object: all men, all white, all dead, some more so than others. To which I have no adequate answer, but can only say that the wind bloweth where it listeth. But the simple fact remains that a couple of Camus' lyrical essays are enough to light one's way through a very dark time." 

To read Crutchfield's great essay "How I Lost My Pen-Pal; or, Toward a Luddite Manifesto," which was published in berfrois (April 4, 2014), click here

The Committee Room. Time Spent with TCR is Never Wasted.

69 comments:

  1. Ayuk Buruan Daftar Diri Anda Di Armanitogel Dan Sekarang Sudah Ada Promo Bonus Deposit Di Armanitogel 10%, Tunggu Apalagi.
    Ayo Gabung Bersama kami Agen Togel Terpercaya

    Agen Togel Terpercaya
    Bandar Togel Online
    Daftar Togel
    Bandar Togel Terpercaya

    ReplyDelete

  2. Salam all. Yuk gabung segera di bandar bola terbaik dan terpercaya 2018 ^_^ dan tidak ketinggalan juga loh banyak bonus di www.maxisbola.com
    Nikmati berbagai keuntungan bermain di
    BONUS DEPOSIT PERTAMA 30%
    1 Min deposit : IDR 500.000
    2 Max bonus : IDR 2.000.000
    3 Kode bonus : MSB30
    4 Melakukan turnover 10 kali dari total deposit di tambah bonus
    contoh depo 200+100 = 400x10 = 4.000 turn over yang harus di capai
    5 Promo ini khusus member baru dan deposit pertama
    6 Hasil Seri, bertaruh di dua sisi, dibatalkan atau ditarik dikeluarkan dari perhitungan turnover
    7 Semua taruhan di luar SPORTBOOK tidak di hitung dalam turn over
    8 Bonus dan kemenangan akan di tarik jika target turn over tidak tercapai terhitung dari tanggal deposit atau ada teridentifkasi kecurangan dalam ip address, nomor rekening, nama rekening.
    9. Maxisbet berhak membatalkan promo ini kapan saja , baik untuk semua pemain atau pemain individu

    ReplyDelete
  3. The Presidents Executive SPA and Karaoke Purwokerto adalah cara terbaik untuk melepaskan diri dari STRESS! Stay awake ... Happy Relaxation and Enjoy With Us Lets Now North Purwokerto, Banyumas Regency, Central Java www.thepresidentspa.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you The information you submit is very useful, waiting for the next update Gan, Greetings Success :)
    Don’t Forget visit our site on

    Poker Online
    Domino QQ
    Capsa Susun
    Q Kick
    Ceme
    Agen Domino Terpercaya
    Agen Poker Online
    Judi Poker Online

    ReplyDelete
  5. This is very good

    http://dominoidr.com/

    ReplyDelete
  6. This is good job

    http://pelangiidr.com/

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank you The information you submit is very useful, waiting for the next update Gan, Greetings Success :)
    Don’t Forget visit our site on

    Poker Online
    Domino QQ
    Capsa Susun

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thank you The information you submit is very useful, waiting for the next update Gan, Greetings Success :)
    Don’t Forget visit our site on

    Poker Online
    Domino QQ
    Capsa Susun
    Q Kick
    Ceme

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thank you The information you submit is very useful, waiting for the next update Gan, Greetings Success :)
    Don’t Forget visit our site on

    Poker Online
    Domino QQ
    Capsa Susun
    Q Kick
    Ceme

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thank you The information you submit is very useful, waiting for the next update Gan, Greetings Success :)
    Don’t Forget visit our site on

    Poker Online
    Domino QQ
    Capsa Susun
    Q Kick
    Ceme

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thank you The information you submit is very useful, waiting for the next update Gan, Greetings Success :)
    Don’t Forget visit our site on

    Poker Online
    Domino QQ
    Capsa Susun
    Q Kick
    Ceme

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thank you The information you submit is very useful, waiting for the next update Gan, Greetings Success :)
    Don’t Forget visit our site on

    Poker Online
    Domino QQ
    Capsa Susun
    Q Kick
    Ceme

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thank you The information you submit is very useful, waiting for the next update Gan, Greetings Success :)
    Don’t Forget visit our site on

    Poker Online
    Domino QQ
    Capsa Susun
    Q Kick
    Ceme

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thank you The information you submit is very useful, waiting for the next update Gan, Greetings Success :)
    Don’t Forget visit our site on

    Poker Online
    Domino QQ
    Capsa Susun
    Q Kick
    Ceme

    ReplyDelete
  15. Artikel Ini Wajib Dikatakan Sangat Bermanfaat Karena Hal Yang Berguna Dituliskan Disini,
    kunjungi web kami di :

    Anda Member Poker Online ???
    Yuk uji keberuntungan anda di POKERSEMI
    Ajak teman anda bermain dan dapatkan pasaran bonus tertinggi Se-Asia.
    Di Sini Anda Bisa Menguji Keberuntungan Anda Dengan Modal Yang Sangat Rendah Dan Bisa Memenangkan Hadiah Sampai Puluhan Juta Rupiah
    Minumal Deposit Hanya Rp 10.000,- Saja Dan Anda Bisa Melakukan Withdraw Tanpa Batas.
    100% MEMBER VS MEMBER !!!
    Tersedia 6 games in 1 web...
    Pasaran Bonus Tertinggi Se-Asia :
    - Bonus TurnOver mingguan 0.5%
    - Bonus Refferal 10% + 10% = 20%
    - Bonus New Member 10%
    Info / Pendaftaran hubungi :

    Poker99
    DominoQQ
    Capsa Susun
    Poker Uang Asli
    Judi Poker
    Agen Domino
    Agen Poker
    Bandar Ceme
    Agen Domino Terpercaya
    Agen Poker Online
    Poker Online

    ReplyDelete
  16. Thank you for the information you give hopefully in the future could be great again
    confused looking movie ????
    don't Forget Visit Our Cinema on
    Nonton Movie
    Nonton Film Online
    Bioskop Online
    Ganool Movie

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thank you The information you submit is very useful, waiting for the next update Gan, Greetings Success :)
    Don’t Forget visit our site on

    Poker Online
    Domino QQ
    Capsa Susun
    Q Kick
    Ceme

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thank you The information you submit is very useful, waiting for the next update Gan, Greetings Success :)

    Don’t Forget visit our site on
    Poker Online
    Domino QQ
    Capsa Susun
    Q Kick
    Ceme

    ReplyDelete
  19. Thank you The information you submit is very useful, waiting for the next update Gan, Greetings Success :)

    Don’t Forget visit our site on
    Poker Online
    Domino QQ
    Capsa Susun
    Q Kick
    Ceme

    ReplyDelete
  20. Thank you very much for taking your time to create this very informative site.
    Don’t Forget visit our site on
    PokerQQ
    DominoBet
    Capsa Susun
    DominoQQ
    BandarQ
    AduQ

    ReplyDelete
  21. So nice this information to us....

    Don't Forget Visit Our Cinema on
    Nonton Movie
    Nonton Film Online
    Bioskop Online
    Ganool Movie

    [url=http://www.nonton33.org]Nonton Movie[/url]
    [url=http://www.nonton33.org]Nonton Film Online [/url]
    [url=http://www.nonton33.org]Bioskop Online[/url]
    [url=http://www.nonton33.org]Ganool Movie[/url]

    ReplyDelete
  22. Thank you The information you submit is very useful, waiting for the next update Gan, Greetings Success :)

    Don’t Forget visit our site on
    Poker Online
    Domino QQ
    Capsa Susun
    Q Kick
    Ceme

    ReplyDelete
  23. Thank you The information you submit is very useful, waiting for the next update Gan, Greetings Success :)

    Don’t Forget visit our site on
    Poker Online
    Domino QQ
    Capsa Susun
    Q Kick
    Ceme

    ReplyDelete
  24. Thank you The information you submit is very useful, waiting for the next update Gan, Greetings Success :)

    Don’t Forget visit our site on
    Poker Online
    Domino QQ
    Capsa Susun
    Q Kick
    Ceme

    ReplyDelete
  25. Thank you The information you submit is very useful, waiting for the next update Gan, Greetings Success :)

    Don’t Forget visit our site on
    Poker Online
    Domino QQ
    Capsa Susun
    Q Kick
    Ceme

    ReplyDelete
  26. Thank you The information you submit is very useful, waiting for the next update Gan, Greetings Success :)

    Don’t Forget visit our site on
    Poker Online
    Domino QQ
    Capsa Susun
    Q Kick
    Ceme

    ReplyDelete
  27. Thank you The information you submit is very useful, waiting for the next update Gan, Greetings Success :)

    Don’t Forget visit our site on
    Poker Online
    Domino QQ
    Capsa Susun
    Q Kick
    Ceme

    ReplyDelete
  28. Thank you The information you submit is very useful, waiting for the next update Gan, Greetings Success :)

    Don’t Forget visit our site on
    Poker Online
    Domino QQ
    Capsa Susun
    Q Kick
    Ceme

    ReplyDelete
  29. Thank you The information you submit is very useful, waiting for the next update Gan, Greetings Success :)

    Don’t Forget visit our site on
    Poker Online
    Domino QQ
    Capsa Susun
    Q Kick
    Ceme

    ReplyDelete
  30. Thank you The information you submit is very useful, waiting for the next update Gan, Greetings Success :)

    Don’t Forget visit our site on
    Poker Online
    Domino QQ
    Capsa Susun
    Q Kick
    Ceme

    ReplyDelete
  31. Thank you The information you submit is very useful, waiting for the next update Gan, Greetings Success :)

    Don’t Forget visit our site on
    Poker Online
    Domino QQ
    Capsa Susun
    Q Kick
    Ceme

    ReplyDelete
  32. Thank you The information you submit is very useful, waiting for the next update Gan, Greetings Success :)

    Don’t Forget visit our site on
    Poker Online
    Domino QQ
    Capsa Susun
    Q Kick
    Ceme

    ReplyDelete
  33. Thank you for the information you give hopefully in the future could be great again

    Nonton Movie
    Nonton Film Online
    Bioskop Online
    Ganool Movie

    ReplyDelete
  34. Thank you The information you submit is very useful, waiting for the next update Gan, Greetings Success :)
    Don’t Forget visit our site on
    http://www.armaniqq.org

    Ingin berpenghasilan lebih?
    Kini hadir permainan baru yang bisa menambah penghasilan anda
    Modal sedikit dan untung banyak hanya di www . ArmaniQQ . org
    Segera daftarkan diri anda di ArmaniQQ dan rasakan bedanya
    Bonus TurnOver 0.5%
    Bonus Refferal 20% seumur hidup
    Bonus Jackpot ratusan juta rupiah
    Proses deposit dan withdraw 2 menit - 3 menit
    Minimal deposit 25rb dan minimal withdraw 50rb
    Untuk info lebih lanjut silahkan hubungi kami melalui :
    -Pin BBM : 2B455ED8
    -Wechat : armani_qq
    -WhatsApp : +6283189361599
    -Line : armaniqq808
    -Link FB : https://www.facebook.com/armaniqq808
    -Instagram : @HannyLembi
    Atau bisa langsung hubungi LiveChat kami
    Segera jadilah member ARMANI QiuQiu dapatkan bonus dan JACKPOT nya ^^

    PokerQQ
    DominoBet
    Capsa Susun
    DominoQQ
    BandarQ
    AduQ
    Domino Qiu Qiu

    ReplyDelete
  35. Thank you for the information you give hopefully in the future could be great again
    confused looking movie ????
    don't Forget Visit Our Cinema on

    http://www.nontonmovie33.net

    Nonton Movie
    Nonton Film Online
    Bioskop Online
    Ganool Movie

    ReplyDelete
  36. Thank you The information you submit is very useful, waiting for the next update Gan, Greetings Success :)
    Don’t Forget visit our site on
    http://www.armaniqq.org

    Ingin berpenghasilan lebih?
    Kini hadir permainan baru yang bisa menambah penghasilan anda
    Modal sedikit dan untung banyak hanya di www . ArmaniQQ . org
    Segera daftarkan diri anda di ArmaniQQ dan rasakan bedanya
    Bonus TurnOver 0.5%
    Bonus Refferal 20% seumur hidup
    Bonus Jackpot ratusan juta rupiah
    Proses deposit dan withdraw 2 menit - 3 menit
    Minimal deposit 25rb dan minimal withdraw 50rb
    Untuk info lebih lanjut silahkan hubungi kami melalui :
    -Pin BBM : 2B455ED8
    -Wechat : armani_qq
    -WhatsApp : +6283189361599
    -Line : armaniqq808
    -Link FB : https://www.facebook.com/armaniqq808
    -Instagram : @HannyLembi
    Atau bisa langsung hubungi LiveChat kami
    Segera jadilah member ARMANI QiuQiu dapatkan bonus dan JACKPOT nya ^^

    PokerQQ
    DominoBet
    Capsa Susun
    DominoQQ
    BandarQ
    AduQ
    Domino Qiu Qiu

    ReplyDelete
  37. Thank you for the information you give hopefully in the future could be great again
    confused looking movie ????
    don't Forget Visit Our Cinema on

    http://www.nontonmovie33.net

    Nonton Movie
    Nonton Film Online
    Bioskop Online
    Ganool Movie

    ReplyDelete
  38. Thank you very much for taking your time to create this very informative site.
    Don’t Forget visit our site on

    http://www.armanitogel.online

    Salam JP Para Pecinta Togel Online
    Bandar Togel Online Terpercaya WWW.ARMANIPOKER.online
    Permainan Togel Online,Live 12D,Live 24D,Live 36D,Live 48D Dan Dragon Tiger
    Tersedia Hadiah Utama, Hadiah Kedua Dan Hadiah Ketiga Untuk 3D Dan 4D
    4D : Prize 1 X 3000, Prize 2 X 2000, Prize 3 X 1000
    3D : Prize 1 X 400, Prize 2 X 200, Prize 3 X 100
    2D : Prize 1 X 70
    Tersedia Banyak Pasaran ! ! !
    Segera Daftar Dan Bergabung Bersama Kami Di www,armanitogel,Online (PAKAI TITIK, BUKAN KOMA)
    Bonus Refferal 1% Seumur Hidup ( + Bonus Hingga 100% )
    Transaksi via Bank BCA, MANDIRI, BNI & BRI
    Jika Anda Berminat, Anda Dapat Menghubungi Kami Melalui :
    LiveChat : WWW.ARMANITOGEL.online
    PIN BB : 2AD837EE
    Salam JP!!!
    Togel Online
    Prediksi Togel
    Agen Togel
    Judi Togel
    Togel
    Toto4d
    Togel Sgp
    Bandar Togel
    Togel Keluaran Sgp
    Togel Online
    Bocoran Togel
    Bocoran Sgp

    ReplyDelete
  39. feel good article.......thanks for sharing

    better way to buy groceries
    migrocer.com

    ReplyDelete
  40. Thank you information you submit is very useful, waiting for the next update Gan, Greetings Success :)

    Don’t Forget visit our site on
    Poker Online
    Domino QQ
    Capsa Susun
    Q Kick
    Ceme

    ReplyDelete