…for something completely different.
I don’t normally work in this fashion, but I’m beginning a phase of doing things that I don’t normally do (yes, be afraid, be very afraid).
My last honours class in English happens to be a creative writing class. We are all working in our own genre specific areas; the class is heavily theory laden, which is fine, part workshop, and partly based on exercises which we have to hand in for a final portfolio. Our opening exercise consisted of writing a letter to one of the authors on our list (we were required to make up a reading list specific to our genre and style of writing) reminiscent of Susan Sontag’s “A Letter to Borges”.
Here is my letter that I wrote yesterday(apologies for the double line spacing, as I can’t figure out how to remove it–please feel free to make any comments you may have as it is still new and raw):
Unsent letter to Sylvia Legris
I never worried much about the fish.
Like language, fish were foreign
to a younger me
unfamiliar as the prairie fields that addressed
an émigré while travelling
by train. The departure
beginning from the past.
Reading you, I’m looking out
that window. Remembering a migration
of dogs. I followed
impossibly. Do you
like my hat?
Imagine a bed big enough
to sleep everyone.
Even at the age of four I believed
it was possible
believed there were beds
with room enough for all. A moon
roosted in the bedroom window.
And later they drove
cars to a celebration
in the biggest tree on the flat, migraine
of a white page.
And how is it
I didn’t understand dogs
don’t climb trees
until the other day when I read
to my nephews, their eyes fixed—
paper on pause, each child
eagerly waiting the next flip
Or how reading a book in the sun-
fingered limbs of shadow’s past
is akin to the awareness
of pain. The fissure—
your squall clouding my brain, the swell
of my own nerves, thinned and tightening.
Repetition is the mother
of all movement. I am that
There are memory-tornadoes looped
in the words I read.
You said the word is embouchure.
Our blood pulsing from the heart
to each peripheral region. You said
limbic. You said swim. You said
words that were in my mouth, formed
by my mouth. An immigration.
What you said landed on me, a spring
rain escaping the staggered sky
or a sudden snow layering sheets on
to shape one big bed.
Quote and references from Go Dog Go—by P.D. Eastman