Art of Letters

January 1, 2014

I do editorial assistant work for a friend’s small printing press. Well, she’s decided to go ahead and launch the press this year, anyway. And I am super excited to be able to help support her endeavors. Last year, she got things started off with a literary magazine, and I have really loved reading submissions and such, even when the slush pile is piled high with unpleasant writing.

We got a very lovely piece from someone and I said that I loved it because it captured the beauty of the lost art of letter writing. Another editor agreed with me, and my friend decided to run with it and do a call for a special edition, specifically requesting pieces about letter writing. So I decided to write a little something, because fake letters are one of my favorite writing exercises.

Dear Toothache,

I thought I lost you when you were just a thing that bothered me when I bit down on the right side. I thought you had me with each pulse, each beat of a drum, for awhile. I thought I was going to have to go back to the dentist and get that cavity refilled. And then you were gone, and I was empty again, alone with no pain, with nothing to numb. I thought I missed you. And now I think you never were. I think I invented you to push back against boredom, to give me something to complain about, when nothing’s wrong, nothing’s missing, nothing’s lost. I think I will start to bite down again, on the right side.

All the best,
This Mouth

Today I learned: the word “epistolary,” which I feel I should have known before now, and might have simply forgotten. (definition: “adjective, relating to or denoting the writing of letters or literary works in the form of letters”)

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