That’s me. I’m 13 or 14, and on vacation at Myrtle Beach. In this picture I have my arm around a girl whose name I can’t remember, but who I’m sure at the time I was madly in love with. What teenage boy wouldn’t be?
My romantic life was entirely made up of vacation-length love affairs during most of my teen years. I’d go to the beach and fall desperately for a girl my age from another state who was as eager to turn her vacation into a love song as I was.
But after five short days of puppy love make out session we were stolen away from one another and taken back to our real lives. There was no internet back then so the only way we had to keep our profound desire for one another alive was through mixtapes and hand-written letters. For months after my vacations I wrote pages swearing my devotion to my newest soul mate, and walked to the mailbox each day anxiously waiting for her reply.
It was good practice for a writer, putting my innermost thoughts down on paper for a stranger who might not care and enduring the all that time with no words or answers. More than that, it allowed me to save a part of myself that would’ve been erased by time otherwise.
I don’t have the letters I sent out. They might be long since thrown away by this point, or like mine, buried in a shoebox in a basement. But I do have all the ones I received. Hundreds of them from girls who lived in different states, girls I loved with the pure blind want of youth who I’d never see again. There’s something incredibly powerful about young naive love that makes a teenage heart feel as if the world will break if one more day passes without hearing from the person you want most in the world; a person who is already more sense memory and idea than breathing and true. That’s what I want to share with you.
In the spirit of romance, of dumb devotion, of trying to figure out the world and place yourself in it in a way that matters, a copy of one of the love letters I received from my vacation love affairs will be sent to anyone who pre-orders my new collection Romance for Delinquenst from Foxhead Books. You can order it HERE.
This is a way to not only share my creative life with you, but also part of my teenage romantic past. It’s also a fun way to see how the two texts work together to form a conversation. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t like going through another person’s backpages to see what secrets or gems are lurking there.
This is my shoebox of burning love. If you pre-order Romance for Delinquents you will get a copy of one of these letters chosen at random. I’m not going to edit them in any way, other than removing the name, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the letter you get is embarrassing or funny. Those are always the best.
I hope this is will be fun for you all, that you enjoy my new collection, and dig the chance to spy into my teenage love stories.