Years ago, I briefly rented a post-office box and took out an ad in the classifieds which, apart from listing the box address, simply read “Tell me a story.” One of the respondents — named Said — had told me in Letter #3 (https://ottawaephemera.wordpress.com/2009/08/15/tell-me-a-story-part-3/) that good stories needed to be told in person. I responded by mailing him a minicassette recorder and some blank tapes. This was his response (I’ve removed his address):
Tell Me A Story
Received Jan. 7/02
Hand-written on blank paper.
Ottawa – Ont
Jan. 3, 2002
I really admire your sense of decency and humour “Tell me a story” in sending a tape recorder. It is wonderful and I wish I were a teenager to take full advantage of it.
I am sincerely a good story teller and the story has reflections of taste, truth, trauma, affection and appeal to a person. I have one serious problem. I am an upper middle person and a very respectable profession. In the world of my profession one little mistake can end my career.
I refused to write and offered to tell personally face to face. I have also to know the person whom I have to tell the story. Telling the story to a person about whom I do not know any thing is not right. Thus I have to disappoint you. I hope you understand it and appreciate my difficulty in telling a story. It is like a blind date and I had blind dates two decades ago but it is too late for me now adventures like blind dates.
I now realise that it was wrong to write even the letter and I wish sincerely to apologise for it.
With all respect, best wishes and love,