Paradise is separated from hell only by an imaginary line, so it is said.

Henry Miller
Insomnia: Or, The Devil at Large
(
1974)

As a recent college graduate in the mid-Nineties, I was moving around the U.S. trying to figure out where to settle down and what to do. I was reading a lot of Henry Miller, Hermann Hesse, William T. Vollman, etc. I was also reconnecting with my younger brother who was finishing up his college at William and Mary. Between sporadic (and expensive) long-distance calls where I gave him an earful of Miller’s philosophical rants, we wrote letters to each other. The letters were never standard format. Instead, they were ripped up pages of the previous semester’s textbook, punk show flyers, or photocopies of our smushed faces. After scribbling messages and folding the paper, it was then they became envelopes ready to mail. We were both going through ”difficult“ times trying to figure out what to do and this correspondence was a welcomed distraction.

At some point, he sent a proper postcard inside an envelope. It was a photograph of Henry Miller and Lawrence Durrell laying in bed together with smiles on their face. The reverse was an inscription, a quote from Miller‘s handwritten book Insomnia: Or The Devil at Large1

I was working at Kinkos at the time, typesetting resumes and wedding invitations in their computer lab, or: starting out my design career without realizing it yet. In any case, the postcard and quotation was such a vivid reminder of how fast things change from time to time. So I laminated it. I keep it in my shoebox of sentimental treasures. It goes wherever I go.

***


  1. Miller, Henry. Insomnia: Or, The Devil at Large. United States, Doubleday, 1974.