A lot like our courtship.
Here's a sneak peak into Richard's piece:
“I find it nearly impossible to respond to what I’ve read. I think it’s like watching a good play. I don’t want to talk about it until I have given it a chance to be absorbed entirely. Your words are utterly compelling. I hear your voice so clearly…and it moves me.”
I wrote this to my future wife, a writer who I barely knew. Over the course of many months, I had become addicted to her words.
Heidi Reimer and I met, briefly, in 2002, and for the following nine months we wrote each other letters, our courtship unfolding through words on a page. Or rather the very first letter, sent by her, was on a page—an actual page written on with a pen and mailed with a stamp—though the subsequent letters were emailed. But they were long, thought-out documents, with days or a week between each as we took our time composing and responding, carefully unveiling ourselves to each other.
Artists are used to long-distance relationships, relationships that are hard to sustain. The words used in communicating become important. Actors and writers use words, treasure words, mould words. Words are the clay of their art.
Anton Chekhov and Olga Knipper wrote to each other. He was a writer, she was an actress. They were frequently separated by her work and his health. Their love story unfolds in their letters. The play based on these letters is called I Take Your Hand in Mine…
I am playing Chekhov in this play, in a mirror image of my own experience. This time I’m not the actor, but the writer.
Chekhov met Olga for the first time at the Moscow Art Theatre for rehearsals of his play The Seagull. He was immediately attracted to her even though he mistrusted actresses. (“Actresses are cows who fancy they are goddesses … Machiavellis in skirts.”) Olga was ambitious, impulsive, talented. She loved life and threw herself headlong into her all-consuming passion: the theatre.
I also met Heidi for the first time in a theatre.
Read the rest over at Intermission Magazine.