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Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Crying Child

Sent this letter to one of my professors two years ago and it is both uplifting and heart breaking.  
25th November of 2010

Hay Doc,

It's thanksgiving and I'm stuck at home, but it gives me time to shoot off and email I've been meaning to send. I thought you might get a kick out of knowing that I sent my essay to a friend of mine who had some trouble in the love department. By trouble I mean her husband ran off with every dime she had then she had to sue him to end the marriage. After that she got beaten by her boyfriend and so on. Sad how afoul follows you in life.

So I sent her my essay one and she got a sense of satisfaction out of it. She kept asking herself why she didn't leave either of those two men sooner and my essay gave her and answer. It's not the best answer that our studies this semester can give, but like a firefly in the darkness it gave her a friendly light.

I don't suppose you'd know how much the small things can mean to those of us who live our lives in the nether of the human experience. Well, let me tell you a story. When I was seventeen I was over at a friend's house when I heard a baby crying. As an act of instinct I picked up the child. He wasn't yet three days old but he had a set of lungs on him. I couldn't feel anything in the diaper so he hadn't soiled himself. It didn't appear as though he was hungry. Can't tell you how I knew that, but I did.

I stroked the boy's cheek with my index finger and blew air in his face only to have him stop crying for a moment then go on again. Rose, it was her house and I was a friend of her son, came in and said “you'll make a wonderful father some day.”

“I don't think so,” I told her. “I can't get him to stop crying.”

“No one can, Richard,” Rose told me. “That baby was born addicted to cocaine.”

Thing is that the essay to my friend is like my breath to the baby. It may have given her no more than a moment of peace in the deluge of suffering that is her life, but a moment can mean a lot. That's kind of the difficulty of clinical Psychology, it is impossible to take the patient out of the toxic environment, one can only aid them in finding peace within themselves.

I didn't want to mention this before you graded the paper so it wouldn't look like I was trying to get a better grade, but I felt you'd like to know.

Happy thanksgiving

Richard Leland Neal

Saturday, November 3, 2012


2nd November 2012
Dear folks at the Kevin and Bean show

This morning you talked about those of us who are asocial. I happen to be one of those folks with few friends and most of a very virtual nature so that if I decided to go out this weekend I’d likely do it alone. I can tell you that for me it started with child abuse. As a result of this I have always been depressed and untrusting of others.

I did have a small group of friends up until two thousand and nine, but I had a falling out with one of them who after nineteen years of friendship felt that it was too much to ask to get my name right. This led to him convincing most of our mutual friends to stop talking to me or lie to me. Now the folks I once spent most of my free time with have turned their back on me or are people I can’t trust.

Now I spend most of my free time alone, and I’m cool with that because only boring people get board.

Richard from Whittier

Friday, November 2, 2012

New Computer

16th May 2012
Dear Cassi,
It was on the 25th of April that I took home a new desktop computer. It had been a long time coming and the old unit was feeling its years. Still, I had wanted a rebuild rather than a full new unit but that’s what I have now.
A point that came up is that my computer was very large and still the new body is larger. This led to a frustrating fight to get the new unit into the old desk. It took me more than a week and at least a few hundred dollars with cords and equipment. Now the new unit stand and the desk with a vintage IBM body sitting under the second monitor. The first and large flat screen is suspended on an arm over the desk. One of my laptops sits and another arm to my right so that I have three screens running at once when I need them.
This is a rig for doing all the things I dream of, little sister, it’s the morning of a holiday when the air is clear and the birds are singing. This is possibility and dexterity in a black mesh frame.
However, I’ll most likely use it to play video games and watch movies. Well, I will get thousands of hours of fun out of it and that counts.

Reach for your potential, little sister

Richard Leland Neal

Thursday, November 1, 2012


15th May 2012
Dear Cassi,
In that nature of my car problems I found an anger that wanted destruction. With this I turned to the boxes of paper records that have long plagued me and that have sat for as long as fifteen years. I turned to the paper shredder to disposed of this and found satisfaction in watching the pages turn to confetti in the teeth of the black and cream beast.
Some hours into my labor the shredder could take no more and jammed to tell me it was done working for the day. I turned to fire seeing that I was not a tenth of the way completed in my task.
I found a greater satisfaction in the burning embers of my mistakes in life and kept at this with three full boxes of paper that the fire choked on as hit burnt a history of no importance. Smoke stung in my eyes but somehow I loved the destruction of that old nature and new that with the smoke clear I could look ahead.
It was during this labor that I was called on by Falstaff’s father who was to go with me to have my car looked at and he was stunned by this action thinking in the fire there was some anger from me to his son for the damage to my vehicle.
I was angry and I found something productive to do with that anger. If all the anger we feel could be put to good use would this not be a better world?

Always find your light, little sister

Richard Leland Neal