By Letters Anthology Founder Denise Mills
27. That was the number of letter submissions I was calling for when this project first began, so it surprised me a little when I decided it was time for the Letters Anthology to go on hiatus, while I recharge and reassess, that 27 is exact the number of submissions that we have. (Also my favourite number, #justsayin).
Many of you know that originally Letters Anthology was meant to be a book, its pages to be filled with women’s non-fiction letters from around the world, expressing their hearts, minds and experiences freely in the creative and almost obsolete form of letter writing.
Interestingly, had I have been born in America the book would have gone ahead. Australia’s complex and outdated defamation laws meant the website was the safer and less ridiculously expensive option, due to the legal costs involved. I’ll leave the details out, but to all the well-meaning “backseat lawyers” insisting that not using the subject’s name was legally sufficient, I’ll just say that no, it’s not. Not for the more “sensitive” letters.
And by “sensitive” letters, I mean the white hot angry ones, such as the short but fiery letter written as a final “so long and fuck you” to an abuser. I think it’s wonderful to have a platform where women are free to express the whole spectrum of emotion – anger included – which is a feeling we’ve been conditioned to keep stored up inside. It’s only been recently (perhaps thanks to #metoo) that we as women have really embraced being whole humans rather than a shadow of ourselves to collectively keep the peace.
Of course, I hold equally dearly the poignant and authentic letters which show the depth of a woman’s soul. Viktoria Rendes’ letter to her late husband was one in particular which ingrained itself on my heart due to her ability to pour herself and her story onto the page so beautifully. There have also been letters that have astounded me by authors who’ve managed to completely turn their lives around, while other authors have put pen to paper to show their clever, quirky side and share a laugh, which is also a wonderful thing to share – thank you!
But running an online mag is no small feat – I knew this from the beginning. And while I could keep the project going as it is, I’d love to take some time to recharge and reassess its direction. Perhaps open up the site to more forms rather than just letter writing? Find a way to pay contributors that doesn’t involve prostitution? (I don’t think I’m up for it. No energy.)
No matter how it evolves, the Letters Anthology will always be focused on women’s expression and expansion, a passion I hold close to my heart. And the site with all its beautiful letters will still be here, of course, but for the time being I won’t be accepting any more contributions.
Thanks to all who’ve been involved in the project by either contributing or reading. I hope the letters have touched you as much as they have me!