April 21, 2019

letter to sarah

Glitter is carcinogenic.
Dear Sarah,

How hokey is this?  I thought you'd appreciate it.

I guess I feel that I need to apologize specifically to you because of all the writing insights, encouragement, and opportunities to get more creative with profanity that you've sent my way these past months.  Well, maybe not apologize, but somewhere between apologize and explain.

See, what happened is, a co-worker I know only well enough to have friended on Facebook, because we had seventeen mutual friends and it kept suggesting her in the upper right corner of the screen and I had to make it go away, commented on one of my posts there with a simple, "You should write books."

This is the seventh or eighth time I've been told this, but this one stood out because, apart from "my computer is borked," the co-worker has said exactly one thing to me and it was that.  "You should write books."

I related the Facebook comment to P.J., who smiled quietly to herself and said nothing.

"But I'm starting to wonder if I can write books.  The fiction just isn't coming," I continued.

P.J. said, "Did she say, 'You should write fiction books'?"


"Well, all right, then."

And in that moment, I decided that I'm not required to work on this project, and that I can write a different way, and a weight that I hadn't realized was there lifted off of me and floated away.

It's somewhere up there in the stratosphere now.  I imagine the jet stream is playing merry hell with it.

It feels like taking off some really awful shapewear that I bought a size too small.  I can breathe now.  My voice was being squeezed into something altogether more shapely and conforming than it is in reality.  My voice has curves and fat rolls and wears an elastic waistband.

I am going to write Something, but not this current Thing.  Not right now.  Not first, not this year and maybe not this decade.

The Thing wasn't in vain, either.  I got two vignettes and a pretty good short story out of it all.  I'm going to finish Neil Gaiman's Masterclass without prejudice or an eye toward making something work that ... well, isn't working.  I'm going to make room for Something Else.

Your advice still rings true, because you told me about your own writing process, so I know what I started will wait for me.  But for now, I'm going to breathe.

Thank you for being a sage sounding board and don't go away because I will need that and you're amazingly awesome and so is your writing (I don't always comment) and so are your sketches.  And your cats.  They're awesome, too.  Even if one of them is a dog trapped in a cat's body.  I don't judge.

[I just agonized for five whole minutes over what to put as a closing word or phrase, because "Love, Lille" is presumptuous and "Hugs, Lille" is trite and "Your friend, Lille" is unflavored-oatmeal bland ... "Stay awesome, Lille" sounds like signing a yearbook ... so I'll go with something like "Peace and death to purple gel pens, Lille" ... that's assuming you don't like purple gel pens, and if you do, I apologize for that statement, too, but I've always felt they force a person's hand to go put little hearts for dots over all the instances of the letter 'i' ... yeah, maybe that one doesn't work either ... see? this is why I don't write letters ... fuck it, come up with your own closing, because the Internet is weird and gives us things and I'm glad it gave me a writing buddy,]


p.s. It has come to my attention that a good number of readers have strong positive feelings regarding purple gel pens and have taken umbrage at my assertion that they would ever, in any circumstance, put hearts over any characters in handwritten material.  I'm not going to retract my statement because I've seen things, but I will admit that it's possible - maybe - that I've just had a string of uncountered bad experiences regarding the existence and use of purple gel pens.  Perhaps many do not realize the danger they are in; perhaps they are strong in character and have subconsciously resisted lo these many years.  Beware, my friends.  Beware the purple gel pen.


  1. I consider myself warned and promise that if, at any time, I am tempted to put hearts or any other sort of twee decorations on a writing, I shall immediately throw out all purple gels pens.

  2. Haha. You're gonna see what I posted yesterday and throw up. It's a pure incarnation of purple gel pens. In my defense, I was catering to my sister's tastes. But it was hilarious to draw, and I might draw things like it again. Consider yourself warned.
    I just hope I didn't give you any confusing or conflicting advice. I totally understand, though. Sometimes it takes encouragement from a disinterested third party. Sometimes you just have to have one of those "click" moments where the puzzle pieces come together and you're like OH, that's what she was trying to say! (At least I hope this is what it was, and not that you were being misdirected by my well-intentioned but walleyed advice.)
    I'm so happy you had a writing epiphany. I can't tell you how many gung-ho efforts I've shelved, and I will never return to them. Everything we start and throw away is a learning experience, and none of that effort is wasted.
    LOVE LILLE you meant to say!!!! Long life to purple gel pens (may they never run dry), but death to all the lousy phonies who spout trite niceties and mean not what they say and try to force us into joining their Pipe Dreams of Denial. Is that too long?
    Love Sarah <3

    1. *cough* *sputter* *wheeze* You warned me but THREE-DAY-COLD JESUS that is some serious purple smacky-sugar stuff. I need alcohol. *gets alcohol* Okay, I'm back and feeling better through chemical augmentation. That it isn't/wasn't wasted effort is exactly what I need to hear, m'dear. I'll get to work on something as soon as these purple flashbacks subside.

    2. God, I miss you and Sarah...and writing. One more month and I'm back to writing for real. And what's with the hatin' on purple gel pens, Lille? Also, I'm glad Sarah's gotten through to you about writing a book. You know that between the two of you, I expect a swear word coloring book, right? I'm holding my breath until I turn...purple.
      Bourbon and cookies,

    3. Et tu, Brute? I've been stabbed in the heart with a purple gel pen. What is WITH you people? And Mona, you just want a swear word coloring book so you'll have more to decorate your dining room wall. Admit it. And I'll take that bourbon from you - there, all mine. I seriously think sometimes, Is it June yet? Is it June yet?