Wednesday, October 01, 2003

On August 5, 2000, twenty letters were sent by Daniel O'Mara to the chief executive officers of twenty Fortune 500 companies. This is one; four more follow. [Thanks to Tullia for typing these up, and for sharing them. I had first blogged this here but have to re-blog because the link to the text of the letters is now defunct.]


Dear Mr. Thomas

I realize that you are a busy man so I will get to the point. I have recently been writing some passages from the point of view of a dog named Steven, and I would like you to see an example. Here is one:

I am Steven and I was born in a box of glass, on newsprint cut to ribbons. I am here now, five years later, and my paws, once white like paper, are now white like ivory. I have walked streets! And over fields! I've seen things! The hands of children I've bitten! They look delectable and taste so fine!

I have to move. I have to move. I can jump a mile. I"m that kind of dog - I can jump a goddamn mile. I'm a great dog. I see colors like you hear jet planes.

I'm going to find a hole. I"m going to find a tiny tiny tiny hole and walk through like goddamn Gandhi.

That is all for now.

Dear Mr.Miller,
You do not know me and this matter does not directly affect you, but nevertheless I need your full attention. I have been, for a few weeks now, writing letters to men like yourself, though from the point of view of a dog named Steven. Here is one such letter, for you:

I am Steven and I was born just after the children came home from school> I've spent days barking while not knowing why I was barking> On those days I would bark and bark. getting hoarse and tired, knowing that I did not know why I was barking, all the while guessing that I would be able to figure it out later.

Yesterday I was runing under a hundred tall elms, planted in a row. I was running toward a clearing where the grass in the light was chartreuse and soft, and while running, eyes glassy from the cold air, I thought of my sister, who was taken from me all those years ago, before her eyes had opened. My fur looks like sandpaper but is luxurious to touch.

I still do not know why I bark. Right now, when it's been overcast for a week or so, I feel good, I feel rested, like I never want to bark again. But soon enough I will find myself barking, barking until I am hoarse, unable to stop barking oh God the people start at me like I'll bark myself to death.

I guess it's back to work for you now, Mr.Miller.


Dear Mr.Bijur,

Greetings. I am a resident of Austin, Texas, who is writing to you under the guise of a dog named Steven. Steven is an Irish setter. This here is Steven:

Before we lived in this house a family of four did. They were named the Clutters, and were of course disturbed by the book of Truman's. I asked once if they were related but they ignored me. I have read Mr. Capote's book and liked it a great deal.

I sometimes bark. Sometimes I talk to people about my barking; I feel that it's a problem. Or rather, I feel that other people feel it's a problem, which becomes, for me, a problem. When I see headlights in the rear view window I feel menaced. My brother's name is Jonathan and he barks more than I do, but we never bark at the same time because why would we both need to be barking at the same time? I've bitten him so hard I tasted his alkaline blood. Hooo!

I once ate a pizza. I'm not supposed to eat pizza, because I am a dog, but I don't' know who makes rules like this, who can eat what. I ate the pizza and was fine. I jumped from the roof once and was hardly hurt at all. Maybe I'll never die. I'm a fast dog!

I bark all night at least once a month. In cars I'm quiet. I run around trees like a stick in a current around rocks that are smooth. Hoooo! Hooooo! Yeah you got me now, yeah! Man I wish you could have seen all this.

Mr.Bijur, you are too kind. Keep up the work.


Dear Mr.Connor,

You have many important things to do so I will get to the point. I have recently been writing letters to captains of industry, from the point of view of an Irish setter named Steven. Each letter is one-of-a-kind. Here is yours:

There was a night that I ran like I was swimming in the deep back water, but quieter. When I ran past other dogs, dogs I knew, silhouettes now or just legged bushes of black, they looked hollow. Samson's eyes, ice-blue in the daylight, were white and reflective. I went by as if carried by a current, not feeling my feet grabbing at the wet wet grass.

I was running why because I wanted to feel the air cool the gaps in my fur. The sky was that gray-blue it is when there are clouds out after dark. The houses bent over me and I curved around trees. Damn I'm a fast dog!

It's so fucking tiring to hear people talk. I hear everything they say, all at once. I mean, every time one of them opens their mouth, I hear them all talking, and hear everything they've all been saying for so long, and it's so much all the same thing, one long angry shrugging complaint. But I say: Hoooo! Hooooooo!

You know how cheetahs run - how you never see their feet touch the ground? That's me, man -only when I run, my brain is circling my body at the same time - a hula hoop hooping around my head as I run like a fucking hovercraft!

I'm just in love with all this.

Mr.Connor, I thank you for your time.


Dear Mr.Fuentes,

Recently, I have been writing letters to other large-company CEOs, all from the point of view of an Irish setter named Steven. For you, though, I will be writing as a small bird, probably a hummingbird, named Buck. Here goes:

When I was young and hungry always, my mother left me and my siblings alone as she hopped around the field, looking for food and sticks with which to line our nest. When she was gone we opened our mouths, waiting for food, our eyes green-blue peas covered with the thinnest pink skin.

When she was gone we sometimes taught each other songs. I don't remember any of the songs, or why we sang them . Months later we all flew away and I never saw any of them again, my siblings or mother. We small birds are unsentimental because we can fly!

But you know what? I'm not actually a small bird. I am a dog named Steven. I could never fool you - I'm a fast goddamn dog and I run around trees like a rocket-seeking rocket. Hooo! Hoooooo! I don't need any bird, any small bird asking for food! No way, man! I'm running and running on the dry hot grass and it's like I never wanted to bark again, if I can just keep running. If I can keeping running, turning like a skier, staying low, I'll never want to just bark and bark and bark - oh sweet Jesus, let me keep running! I'm just so fucking afraid of getting tired, you know, man?

Mr. Fuentes, your attention is appreciated

These letters were taken from Timothy McSweeney's literary Journal.