Letter to Sylvia

Dear Sylvia

I am sorry it has taken me so long to write again. I have been trying to finish two short stories I am writing for a magazine that has opened it’s doors for submissions.

I have been trying to write something of only a few thousand words but tells a big story. I am caught on the endings. A short story is difficult to tell, especially when the reader has such a limited time to become accustomed to the characters and setting.

I am writing away each night and I am thinking about trying to get up early and do some work then but for all my good intentions I cannot crawl out of bed so early.

A person I know who teaches at the university had his poem win an award. I was able to read his work and apart from my usual jealousy, I cannot bring myself to like what he has written. It is too pompous by far, the man is so wrapped up with his intellectual life he has lost the art of actually creating something worthwhile. Read this example, a stanza I have chosen:

Melting grace of far away reverences,

the crawling race of dirt-men

fall into the river

and pollute the water

their mud, their filth

fill the stream and choke

the clear waters

no one may drink now.


Well I suppose it is not too bad. It may be that I would kill to work in a university so I look with envy on his work. He was flown to London last month simply to visit a poets’ conference.

All paid for, including a tour of Ireland.

I met your friend Johanna yesterday. She is still working nights in the mens’ club. She swears she does not have sex with them, only a massage and a hand job. She hates men now, she cannot stand them. It disgusts her to have to see them naked and smell them. It makes her angry when they are rude and demanding. I can only relate to this in that when I worked that job cleaning public toilets, I began to hate people too. Their smells, their noises, once I saw two women steal every toilet paper roll and sneak them out in their handbags.

I continue to look forward to seeing you. I hope the job is going well. It amazes me that they leave you to look after their children while they go away for weeks and weeks. Remember when we were seventeen and we were going to buy a caravan and live on the beach? Our dreams of sitting in the beach and working at what ever job came along for money and I would write and you would paint?

How is your painting going? I never thought writing would be such a struggle. It is worthwhile though. To thrust something you love into such an apathetic universe. To try and create a light and hope it will burn through the wet and windy night.

Write to me soon,



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