A Letter to Wilde

November 30, 2018

(or you would write it 30 November 2018)

Dear Mr. Wilde, or whoever is reading this,

First of all, I’m 24 and definitely old enough to understand and believe that there’s not necessarily an afterlife. However, it feels only fitting to address the person in the grave.

You were not a perfect person, Mr. Wilde. Yet still the world—now, or at least parts of it—idolizes you so. I finished a year of teaching in China, and China—unsurprisingly—does not teach the truth of you. Maybe even the U.S., where I’m from, did not teach the truth of you when I was younger and first exposed to your works. It was only in my work as a dramaturg on a production of Earnest did I come to learn more.

And what is your truth? Art as beauty, as passion, as style, as truth. An exaggeration, sure, but also a beautiful truth. You used comedy as a vehicle for others to look more critically at their society and themselves.

You were not honored in your lifetime, but you are legendary in your death. I wish you could know both your fame and, still, your infamy.

I hope you have achieved some peace in death that you did not have in life. But no, isn’t it maybe a bit true what you wrote of your sister? You “are not dead, but sleepeth”?

On behalf of us all: thank you for always being yourself. You’ve never shown fear in that, at least according to us.

 

Sleep well,

Alyssa Cokinis

 

P.S. I didn’t get you flowers—I apologize.

P.P.S. Two beautiful humans are reading anthologies of work at your grave in Pere Lachaise Cemetery—was it beautiful to succumb in Paris, by the way? Anyway, every time a French police officer comes over to tell them not to sit near your grave, they always return to reading once he passes. Lovely people.

Published by Alyssa C.

Writer & theatre artist from Iowa. Currently quarantining in the Pacific Northwest. MA in Intercultural Communication Studies from Shanghai Theatre Academy (expected 2021).

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