Dear Best Selling Author of Erotica,

I am tired, very tired, of everyone on earth telling me how poorly written your books are.

Let me offer a few pointers.

1) Focus on physical details.  How about:  “Blood speckled her pillows, giving them a kind of delicate, polka-dot-from-hell pattern.”

2) End each chapter with a hook.  Example:  “She thought the worst was over.  And then she saw the tail of the bullwhip peeking between his legs.”

3) Rewrite your ending.  Everyone hates it.  Consider crafting one that actually brings women pleasure and satisfaction.   Oh, wait, righhhhht . . . .

Very sincerely,

The Literary Author

P.S. Please stop laughing on your way to the bank.  It’s very untoward, and we can all hear you.




Dear Policeman Who Called Me At Midnight,

You are no rookie.

I knew this not from the tone of your voice (deep) or the way you told me that you had my daughter in your custody (calmly).

No. I knew this by the way you kept saying “nothing is wrong” and “your daughter is not in any trouble” in the shocked pauses between my one word answers.

Thank you for keeping her safe, and for making her first experience with the law a positive one.

And I am sincerely sorry about that little run-in I had with your brethren in 1987.  Really, I am.

Very sincerely,

Parent Fearing Payback

Dear Woman Wearing Sunglasses At Dance Class,


What is your story? Do you know that others are creating it as you dance, leap, twirl in your oversized impenetrable lenses?

Plastic surgery, they whisper.  Others concur.  Of a certain age.  Getting crinkly. They are absolute in their assessment: what else would lead anyone to do what you are doing?

Still, I look at your slight build, the bruise on your shoulder, and come up with another story.  I worry for you, and what is behind your glasses.  I wonder why anyone who has the courage to dance as you do doesn’t also have the courage to stand up to him.  To leave him.  To spin away from his dark embrace.

I tell another friend about this moment, the small drama, the tittering.  She says: Oh, they were probably just prescription sunglasses and she forgot her regular ones.  Like you do sometimes at parties that start at sunset.  Like you do at the grocery store.

Ahhhh, I think, somewhat ashamed, rewriting my own story.  This explains the looks of pity I always get at Whole Foods.

Very Sincerely,

Woman Who Jumps To Dark Conclusions

Dear Olympians,

Dear Olympians,

I don’t sit at the pool this week. This week, I swim.  I don’t drive there, I bike, relishing even the uphills. When no one is looking, I hazard a dive and later, a wobbly flip turn, then delight in the rocketing rush it provides.  I sign up for more dance classes than usual, and twist my hair into a smoother, tighter bun.  In yoga class I consider the line of my gestures, minute adjustments, the swoop of my arm, the flowering of my fingers.  I mimic you all in the smallest ways.
Of course, by the second week, I will have logged more hours in front of the television than I have in a year, and eaten more potato chips than I can count.
But those first few days?  Those are body bliss.

Very sincerely,

Weekend Warrior

Famous people write letters too.

Letters of Note is a lovely blog featuring correspondence from people more famous than I am. If you enjoy my microblog I bet you’ll enjoy this blog too.

This particular post is an exchange between Annie Liebowitz and Jann Wenner of Rolling Stone, and is a beautiful standoff between right brain and left.  Thanks to my friend Greg Frost for bringing it to my attention.

Dear Country Club Manager,

Don’t you remember what it was like to be young?

To have a small closet, a tiny allowance, limited resources, but unlimited beauty?

Don’t you remember what it was like to have nothing special to wear but yourself, your long legs, your shiny hair, your teeth that will never be this white and unspoiled again?

No.  No you don’t.  If you did, you wouldn’t have tapped my daughter on the shoulder and told her that she couldn’t stay at the party. Couldn’t stay unless she went home and put on a pair of longer shorts, or a dress, or a pink and green plaid golf skirt.

In the end, you have accomplished nothing. Because when she comes back in the lake blue dress, gleaming in the late afternoon light, you realize it has nothing to do with what she wears.

The light will always find her.  She shines no matter what container you put her in.

Very Sincerely,

Her Mother, Who Told Her She Looked Great

Dear Graduate,

Celebration is the joyous refusal to think about what’s next.  There is color and passion in this moment, in this festive sliver between childhood and adulthood.

Remember how this feels, to celebrate a job well done.  And remember to do it often, with small successes, and obstacles overcome.  That feeling of accomplishment, followed by joy, is one of the only graces in the world.

May you know it always, not just today.


The Dropout

Dear Writer of Mother’s Day Promotions,

You must be very young.  Have you led a gifted life, with a be-ribboned car on your 16th birthday, and diamond studs when you graduated from college?  Is that what you think it’s about?  Is that why you are doing what you’re doing?

You do not understand what it is like to be a mother.  Or to lose a mother.

If you did, you would write more carefully.  You would find a way, even though you are peddling jewelry or gift cards or meals, to tell people to appreciate what they have now.  And celebrate what they once did.

Please, please understand that just because you are lucky, not everyone is.  Image

Very sincerely,

A mother and a daughter

Dear Friend of a Friend of a Friend,

You say you have a novel in you.

But since it took you nine meandering paragraphs to inform me of this, I’m not sure you even have an email in you.

So please don’t ask to pick my brain.  First, you need to pick up quite a few other things. Including a dictionary.

Very sincerely,

The Novelist