Pen Pal Project

By The Numbers

November 3, 2015



Dear Reva,

It was so wonderful to see you the other day. I love our letters, but it is such a rare treat to be able to talk. I always leave our conversations with my head full of ideas – dangerous, because that’s how we ended up committed to writing letters to each other every week.

My office is on the third floor of my house, with a view from the desk of a century-old maple tree. After five months in the house, I’m quite attached to my tree, even though it offers concrete evidence of the passage of time. It is still clinging to a few yellow leaves, but not, I think, for much longer.

Five months. The number surprises me, actually. I am not a numbers person, as many friends have observed, but even I accept that a ‘by the numbers’ approach to any experience can be revealing. I used to love the Harper’s Index, for example. (From the July 2015 edition: Portion of Americans in 1984 who believed that ‘most people can be trusted’: 1/2. In 2014: 1/3.)

I started my new life as a single person on November 1, 2014. Here’s my year, by the numbers, or at least some of the numbers. A girl’s got to have a little mystery here and there, or at least that’s what they tell me.


Houses sold:                                      1

Houses bought:                                 1


Vacations taken:                                4

Without children:                              2

Completely alone:                              1


Number of Hiltons between

the ages of 7 weeks

and 70 who went to

Disney at March

Break:                                                 10


Dinner parties hosted:                     2

In the previous year:                        25


Plays attended:                                 9

In the previous year:                       0


Games of tennis played:                   70+

Number of doubles partners

who let me cry on the court,

for at least half of those games:      3


Kickboxing lessons:                           4

Massages required to

heal effects of

kickboxing lessons:                           4


Days spent in mediation:                 2


Werewolf costumes purchased:      1*


Meals with trusted girlfriends:        71


Books completed:                              1 (almost)


Pen Pal letters written:                    22


Not a bad year, all in. Here’s to a year ahead with a few more in-person meetings. You almost have me convinced about the tattoo….






* a shameless inclusion for the sole purpose of solving my photo problem for this letter.


Read Reva’s last letter here:


Follow the Pen Pal Project here:

Leave a Reply