Tallinn/ Estonia, 18 August 2021


Dear Reader,

I am sending you this letter from the past uncommented. Partly because I do not want to comment it, partly because I am not in that headspace, but mostly because I just feel tired. I have started a new job. There is not yet so much to do, I am only learning and absorbing, but this is exactly the thing that is really tiring. Also, it is the fear of not coping. What if I will not? I know it is normal to feel this way. I know it will pass. But for now it is just tiring.

Take care, be kind to yourself! I will try too.

Tallinn, 18 August 2017

Dear Käbi!

I just finished reading your book "Ludus tonalis". It is a captivating book. First, what enchants me is how you are able to begin every chapter like a fresh page. You do not regard things as foreseen, but allow the different parts to become very tightly intertwined; you let the text compose itself, and that is how I like it.

Of course I am entranced by the lightness, sharpness and esprit with which you write. And your courage to write so openly about your life, so openly and directly.

I would like to be able to write this way myself. Of course I am not Käbi, I am not Käbi Laretei. Would my life have so much to offer? Maybe the main thing to consider is not always who you are and what you have to offer, but how you write. And you write enchantingly!

Of course I was struck by Clay’s letter to you. His open admission of his love, sexual feelings and desire for you. However, I didn’t find out very much about what you felt and thought about such things. I understand that the proposal of physical love between three people was unacceptable to you. Why was this so? Was it unacceptable to you personally or culturally? Did you even take it into consideration for any length of time?

So maybe you are not always and completely open all the time? Actually we hide quite a few things from ourselves in our daily lives. We try to seem more attractive, more complete to ourselves than we might be on the inside.
In connection to relationships and sexuality I was struck by a feeling of happiness that I had been freed from because of my relationship addiction. Something that I had learned to accept, to some extent, the gap that remains within me since childhood, since I did not have a supportive and loving father. Once after my divorce, a wise child psychologist said to me, you see, you have to learn to accept that no man will ever be able to replace the father you did not have as a child. It sounds like a cliché, but that sentence was absolutely accurate. It applied to me and helped me with this acceptance.

Also, I am satisfied that sex (its presence or absence) no longer dominates my life. After my divorce things were different. Then every male felt like a potential sex partner. That scared me. Help came from my psychiatrist at the time who explained to me the simple fact that having been married for years and having had a regular sex life, a sudden life change feels like withdrawal. And the body literally does have withdrawal symptoms. That calmed me down and helped live through that phase. Freedom from dependency on sex is a powerful feeling. Still, there is something anxiety-provoking and sad about it, because I don't know whether and how I will ever enjoy sex again. But why shouldn't I? The pause I have taken as my goal has perhaps fulfilled its purpose and given me the opportunity for a new and different relationship with myself and my body. A relationship that is less restraining and confining.

By the way, I recently read a text – if I remember correctly it was the review Tiina Kirss wrote of Rodriguez Magda’s book "Enjoyment of the simulacrum". She mentioned that sexuality is at first a tension or game between different parties, and if everything is endlessly tolerant and equal, perhaps the tension or game never happens. And then it isn’t erotic at all. So perhaps I don't know what would be erotic.

Käbi, did you know what aroused you?

I will end the letter here for today. Thank you for being there. Hugs!


The letters are part of a book published in Estonian in September 2019 entitled ”The Courage of Living. Letters to Käbi” (Elamise julgus. Kirjad Käbile, EKSA, 2019). The Estonian book is almost sold out (though some copies can still be found in a few book shops and on my home page). A translation into English by Tiina Ann Kirss will hopefully be published soon.

To find out more about the book in English, read the introduction in my “Essays and poetry” section under “Who was Käbi Laretei?" and “Why write letters to a person you have never known personally?”.

The original letters that later became part of a book began to be written in August 2017. I am publishing them in English in their original chronological sequence, four years later.