Dear Stilts

On Sunday night, a friend prodded me with a link. “Have you seen this? You have fanmail.” I thought it best to reply to Aimee Lindorff in kind.

Dear Aimee,

I’m glad you made it to Riverbend, despite the rain. My reasons are selfish: I really needed your letter this week.

When the page first loaded on my phone and I could see my name at the top, it was a strange thing indeed. What was I in for? My first thought was that I was, in the abstract sense, In Trouble. Perhaps it’s a full name thing. (I don’t have a string of middle names for a parent to invoke.)

At the time your letter arrived, I was making pizza with my boyfriend. We stopped to read and I absent-mindedly worried a hole in the wrong end of the packet of pizza bases. Maybe I shouldn’t make a big deal out of it. But it’s not every day someone I don’t know writes me a review-letter and publishes it in a literary journal (read: never), so blast it. I’ll make a big deal.

Earlier this week I sat down with my manuscript with the aim of making revisions before sending it to the next publisher. I may have had a tiny tantrum. Pages may have found their way, haphazardly, all over the room. There were plenty of factors at work leading to this little game of 72-poem pick-up, sure, but above all it was one of those moments where this whole art thing seemed pretty pointless.

I’m not saying that writing is really a lofty spiritual calling — it isn’t — but damn it was good, great, brilliant to hear that my poems had brought someone such pleasure. Even better, it was a privilege to read your eloquent reaction and your memories of Toowong and its cemetery. Every time I reread the address, it’s a warm, fuzzy shock.

I am going to print it out and stick it near my desk. Possibly also on the fridge. Thank you.

Zenobia

P.S. I am glad you liked my cat-lady dress.

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