Letters of Note oleh Shaun Usher

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Manusia suka bernostalgia, berapapun umurnya, untuk mengingat kenangan indah masa muda melalui benda ataupun melalui cerita yang terpatri di otak. Nostalgia ini nggak harus cerita tentang diri sendiri, tapi bisa juga tentang orang lain yang kita kenal atau figur-figur yang kita suka. Mungkin itu juga yang membuat buku Letters of Note karya Shaun Usher menjadi sangat populer.

Berawal dari kejenuhan Usher bekerja sebagai freelance copywriter yang sangat menghabiskan energi dan jiwa, ia berkunjung ke perpustakaan untuk mencari buku berisi surat-surat sebagai salah satu caranya mendapatkan inspirasi baru karena ia mempunyai pekerjaan yang berhubungan dengan stationery. Ternyata, Usher malah menghabiskan waktu berhari-hari membaca surat-surat lama dan terobsesi dengan metode komunikasi surat-menyurat ini.

Beberapa hari setelah berkunjung ke perpustakaan, Usher memulai proyek Letters of Note, sebuah website yang ia dedikasikan untuk mengarsipkan korespondensi menarik. Publikasi pertamanya adalah sebuah surat yang dikirim oleh Walt Disney Productions di tahun 1938 ke seorang perempuan yang melamar pekerjaan, berisi “women do not do any of the creative work” di perusahaan. Usher juga memuat catatan kriptik yang dikirim oleh pembunuh berantai Zodiac ke polisi San Francisco. Beberapa bulan setelahnya, blog Letters of Note menjadi booming dan diikuti oleh banyak orang. Popularitas blog ini yang membawa Usher menerbitkan buku Letters of Note.

Surat-surat yang dimuat di dalam buku Letters of Note di antaranya adalah surat dari Virginia Woolf untuk Leonard Woolf sebelum ia mencoba bunuh diri.

Dearest,

I feel certain I am going mad again. I feel we can’t go through another of those terrible times. And I shan’t recover this time. I begin to hear voices, and I can’t concentrate. So I am doing what seems the best thing to do. You have given me the greatest possible happiness. You have been in every way all that anyone could be. I don’t think two people could have been happier till this terrible disease came. I can’t fight any longer. I know that I am spoiling your life, that without me you could work. And you will I know. You see I can’t even write this properly. I can’t read. What I want to say is I owe all the happiness of my life to you. You have been entirely patient with me and incredibly good. I want to say that – everybody knows it. If anybody could have saved me it would have been you. Everything has gone from me but the certainty of your goodness. I can’t go on spoiling your life any longer.

I don’t think two people could have been happier than we have been.

Salah satu yang sangat berkesan juga surat dari Nick Cave untuk MTV yang menyatakan dengan sopan penolakannya terhadap pemberian nominasi Best Male Artist di MTV Award untuk penyanyi ini.

letters-of-note-book-shaun-usher

To all those at MTV,

I would like to start by thanking you all for the support you have given me over recent years and I am both grateful and flattered by the nominations that I have received for Best Male Artist. The air play given to both the Kylie Minogue and P. J. Harvey duets from my latest album Murder Ballads has not gone unnoticed and has been greatly appreciated. So again my sincere thanks.

Having said that, I feel that it’s necessary for me to request that my nomination for best male artist be withdrawn and furthermore any awards or nominations for such awards that may arise in later years be presented to those who feel more comfortable with the competitive nature of these award ceremonies. I myself, do not. I have always been of the opinion that my music is unique and individual and exists beyond the realms inhabited by those who would reduce things to mere measuring. I am in competition with no-one.

My relationship with my muse is a delicate one at the best of times and I feel that it is my duty to protect her from influences that may offend her fragile nature.

She comes to me with the gift of song and in return I treat her with the respect I feel she deserves — in this case this means not subjecting her to the indignities of judgement and competition. My muse is not a horse and I am in no horse race and if indeed she was, still I would not harness her to this tumbrel — this bloody cart of severed heads and glittering prizes. My muse may spook! May bolt! May abandon me completely!

So once again, to the people at MTV, I appreciate the zeal and energy that was put behind my last record, I truly do and say thank you and again I say thank you but no…no thank you.

Yours sincerely,

Nick Cave

Salah satu penulis buku kenamaan Roald Dahl juga sempat menuliskan surat balasan pendek yang sangat manis untuk penggemarnya, seorang anak berusia tujuh tahun bernama Amy, setelah Dahl menerima hadiah berupa botol berisi minyak, air berwarna, dan glitter.

GIPSY HOUSE
GREAT MISSENDEN
BUCKINGHAMSHIRE
HP16 0BP

10th February 1989

Dear Amy,

I must write a special letter and thank you for the dream in the bottle. You are the first person in the world who has sent me one of these and it intrigued me very much. I also liked the dream. Tonight I shall go down to the village and blow it through the bedroom window of some sleeping child and see if it works.

With love from,

(Signed)

Roald Dahl

Ada banyak banget cerita menarik lain di balik kumpulan surat dalam buku Letters of Note, mulai dari surat yang ditulis oleh F Scott Fitzgerald, Jack the Ripper, Leonardo da Vinci, Iggi Pop, Albert Einstein sampai Queen Elizabeth II dan masih banyak lagi. Sangat menyenangkan bisa melihat bentuk tulisan tangan orang-orang ternama, apalagi kalau di dalamnya ada figur favorit kamu. Nggak hanya bisa menemukan kisah yang membuat perasaan campur aduk, kita juga bisa mendapatkan banyak insight menarik dari surat-surat di Letters of Note.

Info lengkap: lettersofnote.com

Gambar dan featured image: coolhunting.com

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