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Dear Author

posted Jan 21, 2015, 6:08 PM by Grace Bridges   [ updated Aug 15, 2017, 7:05 PM ]
Published in Decades Review, January 2015 (< link to publication; I'm on page 29 of the PDF)

"Flashes of recognition from someone else’s life. You. Me. Human. Alive. Writing. Those should all be synonyms. We write, therefore we are. We write, we read, therefore we touch. Bump. Without hands or shoulders or any physical part, we collide, slump to the floor, and eye each other. I know you, I say. Will you know me?"

Another long, hard day is over, and it’s time to turn in. But my mind turns to you and your words, and I cannot rest yet. I must take your soul to bed, must ravish your thoughts there among my satin pillows and half-read novels—yours is the book I must choose, for you make me want to write.

A mere page of your prose and I am bursting with it myself. Whether mine is any good, that remains to be seen. The echoes of your being force words to flow, rivers of shining text to drown out all the drudgery of translation, wash away the pharmaceutical sponsoring and the diesel injectors and the résumés I have had to push through my brain, sentence by sentence.

See, I work with words all the time, one way or another, learning new terms, exploring new areas, except that some are mind-soaring expansions of the spirit while others, the kind I get paid more for, tend to be rather dull in nature. But I can’t complain, because the good side of writing is my life, and the other makes it possible. A balance? No, not at all. This, the real writing, rushes in upon me at the most inopportune moments, and I am glad to follow its draw at any time even if it impinges on all the things I should be doing. Good thing I’m my own boss.

I picked up your book, then had no other choice but to write. Found myself inside your personhood and had to exert my own. I intrude, I invade—but you did invite me to, asked me to come inside your bones which you bared for all the world. My answer must be in the same ferociously personal vein.

Surely this is my ultimate reason for reading and writing—to discover new kin whose human experience is enough like my own that the interchange can change me forever.
With your words you hold out a fragile flower of friendship on upturned palm. I reach out, touch a quivering petal. I must be careful with this treasure—for such it is, and well I know it.

Bump. Did you feel that? It was my virtual self bumping up against yours. Bump. Ooh, a little closer that time. Are you okay with where this is going? Far be it from me to scare anyone away; I know I’ve done that sometimes, desperately.

Bump. That thing you wrote there. Bump. I heard what you said. You dropped the veil for a moment and I saw your naked soul. I weep for you. Your words, they stir something within me. Scratch the surface of what might be. Those things you describe, I have lived them too, except not.

Flashes of recognition from someone else’s life. You. Me. Human. Alive. Writing. Those should all be synonyms. We write, therefore we are. We write, we read, therefore we touch. Bump. Without hands or shoulders or any physical part, we collide, slump to the floor, and eye each other. I know you, I say. Will you know me?

Pen to paper. Fingers to keyboard. Click send. Bump. I’ve arrived. Did you feel it? Did you feel anything at all? Do I have to come over there and beat you around the head with my force of being? No. That’s just raggin’. I know you felt it. You couldn’t not. The real question is, will we let these encounters continue to shape us? I hope we all say yes. 

Crash. Whoops, did we take that too fast? Nose to nose, forehead to forehead, locked in a stare, a hongi, a sharing of breath and spirit as the Maori say. Can’t go back now. We’ve breathed each other in.

If the impact is much harder, our brains will merge, Siamese twins joined at the head, one kindred soul, two different-coloured pairs of eyes. And the only way to get comfortable will be to lie on a grassy hill and peer at the shapes in the clouds. We’ll happily ignore the surgeons suggesting they cut us apart.

We’re not there yet. But the momentum is building; we’ll soon have the speed to do it. How far do I go with this relentless shredding of the walls around my inner self?

I wield the demolition ball and crow with delight.


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