I'll be honest with you man, before I got out to Brazil I joked with my friend about the name Bruno. I said it sounds funny. Reminds me of a dog's name or some inanimate object (e.g. my bong) Bruno, before I name my kid Bruno. My friend got really mad at me and said she knew a Bruno who was really smart, funny, good-looking, and blah-blah-blah. I literally laughed out loud and asked her where the guy was from. She said she wouldn't introduce because I was talking merda and that he happened to be Brazillian.
I laughed even louder because I thought only Brazillians name their kids Bruno. I said, "Fuck you girl! I'm going to Brazil where I'll meet thousands of smart, funny, good-looking, blah-blah-blah Brunos (and suprinsingly and thankfully some Brunas too)."
I met hundreds of dudes named Bruno and secretly giggled inside my head because I thought it was a dog's name. Even when I met you. Furthermore, I never came to meet a Bruno cooler than you. I laughed a little when I first walked in the door of the apartment and I discovered that I'd be living with a man-dog, but I became grateful really quick when I realized that you spoke English as well as you did. I'll be honest, I did laugh to myself sometimes. I was living with an English speaking Brazillian man, named after a dog, who likes good beer, creates websites, and talks a lot of shit. I was happy about the situation.
You might be wondering why I'm writing you a public letter on a new blog. Tell your girlfriend not to worry, I'm not professing my love for you. I do however, wish to explain this letter and why it's on this blog.
My first couple of months in Rio, you looked out for me. You helped me translate things. You spoke up for me when I didn't know what the fuck was going on. You shared beer and funny videos with me. Conversing with you was always good for a couple of laughs. Above all though, you read my old blog.
My last month in Japan, up until about December 13' I was writing on the weekly. For about 20 weeks, I was writing on Mondays. It was a labor of love. I was having a good time keeping my online journal. I had about 100 views a week, so I figured maybe 5 of those views were people who actually read what I had to say, and that was enough for me. I don't need a lot of people to read what I write. If 5 people were actually reading my stuff I felt like J.K. Rowling! Maybe Gina, and a few misanthropic fools who came across the link I put up on Facebook read me, but then I came to find out that you read me too! And lo and behold, I come to find out later, that you weren't just being a nice guy and a good roommate, but you actually liked what I wrote!
Boy was I geeked about that. Someone likes what I write. Thank you for that.
However, after a couple of months of living in Rio and not having any specific purpose or theme for my writing, I gave up. I stopped doing what I was loving and I never understood why. Until I remembered some advice that Gina and you had given me while back when I was in the middle of my writing streak. It seems so obvious now, and it made sense back then. I think I just didn't care, or maybe I couldn't decide. You both said,
"Mark, pick a theme! Your blog is all over the place and I never know what I'm going to get when I get to your blog."
Fair enough. The thing is Bruno, I don't want to pick a theme. I have many interests and I like dabbling in various subjects and the occasional current event. The interesting work happening, the monthly rant, and heartbroken vent for Gina, these were all things that I wanted to write about. Lessons I learned that I believe might help others. Stories I heard, or events I experienced that would be interesting or entertaining to others.
Bruno, I like not having a theme.
Yet, therein lies the problem.
Without a theme, I would not have a steady readership. I understood what you and Gina were trying to say.
So I thought, and thought, and thought some more. Nothing.
The result was that I didn't write for the next 60 weeks or so. And then it hit me.
Right before I left Brazil, I noticed that I was writing a lot of letters; to Johnny, to Gina, to my students, and to some of my friends. I noticed I wrote with conviction. I had a different sort of desire when I wrote to them. I knew my writing had a purpose. I wanted to say something to someone I cared about. And that was the answer.
How about, if I write letters to my friends and post them on a blog?
Duh! That had to be it! If I'm writing to someone, I'll finish it because I want them to read what I wrote. I can still keep the subjects varied (because what more is a letter, than varied subjects on life?) and I know I'll have at least one reader a week (the person I write a letter to) and that I could be happy writing like that.
I have tons of experience writing letters, because of the thousand times that I've written Johnny in prison and Gina in love. So writing letters to my friends? Genius (if I do say so myself).
Guaranteed one reader, I can keep talking about what I want, and I'll be motivated to finish writing becasue I'll be writing a letter to a friend!
I wanted to share this with you Bruno, because you said you liked reading my blog. You asked me, numerous times, when I was going to start writing again and because of you, my cave-dwelling, donkey-riding, dog-named HTML writing friend, I am starting a new project.
This will be the starting point of the "Jacobs Letters".
For Gina, Johhny, you* and me.
Thank you Bruno.
I know you helped me do some work on my old blog with the HTML (thanks for that), but this idea hit me after. Sorry I didn't use any of the help you gave me.
*pertains to whoever is reading this. You never know, maybe I'll write you a letter one day.
(Pictured - Man-dog Bruno and myself. It's hard to say who looks like more of an animal)