My father who I described as a polarising figure in my short story ‘Ran Wicked’ was notorious for writing abusive letters. He would criticise and scold any number of family members and friends. He let loose on everyone. Criticising drinking of alcohol or smoking and any other number of criticisms. My own way of dealing with his letters was to ignore them. I would keep some of them and file them away but I normally ignored them. Sometimes I would challenge him and we would argue a point in a few different letters to and fro. The strange thing was that he was much easier to get along with face to face. He never really criticised to the extent he did in letters. Occasionally he would make a point of one of my habits when he saw me but I didn’t pay too much attention to it.
It seemed his letters were an opportunity to offload his intense paranoia about people’s health and wellbeing in the most unhelpful way possible. He criticised doctors, pilots, Roman Catholics, yahoos, his employers such as real estates (he delivered pamphlets), attractive women (who were not interested in sex) and anyone he happened to notice. I started writing a story about his letters a couple of years ago but shelved most of my story writing in 2019 to focus on Qigong. He was to most extents trying to help but couldn’t help being the agony aunt from hell. I made a video in 2011 that captured some of my Dad’s health tips. The irony is he pontificated about health but has fallen on hard times himself. His own paranoia is what inspired these barrage of abusive letters. Nobody was safe from them, not even me. He has mostly stopped his letter writing over the past few years.
My own story about the letters took the main voice and let it be less critical, instead concentrating on the creative ideas. Some of his letters could be seen as strangely creative. Especially his ideas on ‘cooling down the world’, an odd segway into combating global warming. It is the New Year so I am back on board for stories now. It is sad that my Dad has been judged by his letters. I always found him easier to get along with in person. I am glad I never took his abusive letters seriously. I always felt it was his way of dealing with the voices in his head. An exorcism of words if you will. Yet I can understand the sheer horror of his letters, with their psychotic logic and abusive content. Polarising.