One day you’ll be 14, or 24, or 84, or 40. These letters are for every when, though there’s no where so real as here and now.
Here. And now…
You take run ups to come and hug me. Starting further and further away each time. I sit on my bed and you run from the couch, the kitchen, screaming with laughter.
Here’s what I know; it’s not like in the movies, but it can be better, sometimes. And you should believe some things you read; when someone else’s story resonates within you. Listen to music that makes you want to lie in the floor. Let things floor you.
Smile at yourself in the mirror. Your loveliness is all-pervading. I know. I see it every day. You’re the kind of person they write stories about. You’re the reason there’s songs. You’re the heart of the piece.
Maybe have some goals. Maybe have a 5 year plan. Try not to be a nihilist – they’re so dull at parties. Ditto, communists. Though we all have our phases. Whatever you believe in, believe in the values at its heart. Believe in the values of your own heart most of all.
Spend much more time considering whether and why you want to invest in someone, than worrying about how they are feeling about you. I wish I’d done that. Extend yourself the generosity of kindness. Don’t worry all the time. It’ll all work out. It’s a process. You’ll get there.
You’re brilliant, darling. You’re in every smile I’ve ever had. When people say, ‘that’s the spirit!’ they’re talking about you.
You’re the sun on my back.
Happy Birthday, Mabel Poppy.
All my love,
Previous birthday letters: Three
I’m sitting on the back deck drinking a cup of tea. I love the Blue Willow china pattern; it reminds me of my childhood. Mabel’s just joined me.
I broke the head off the broom yesterday, sweeping bricks. Mae has fallen in love with the handle. She spins it expertly and it comes to rest by her side; she’s like something medieval. She’s still in her pyjamas. She’s golden in the sun.
‘What’s the opposite of a fairy?’ she asks me. ‘A mermaid?’ I venture, knowing that’s not quite right, but she’s onto something else.
‘Come ‘ere, dragon!’ she yells at the dog. ‘I’ve got a few ideas for you! On how to be fierce!’.
Darling, you’re 5! A 5-year-old person. And what a fine job you’ve done. You, who from your very instance, have been an experience of impossible beauty. Especially for me.
Sometimes, life will really present you an opportunity to grow up. And I mean ‘grow up’ however you wish to see it. Whatever it was or will be for you. Whatever makes you wiser. Or stronger. More resilient. Whatever makes you hold true to what you really know for certain, no longer willing to be distracted by that which has no answer. Whatever pushes you closer to where you are meant to be. And to who. But see it in its metaphor too. To stretch toward to sun.
You were that great occurrence in my life. You are, every day.
My eyes opened with yours, Theo. And in that moment, I knew everything would be alright.
You’re all my best wishes,
(Last years letter: here.)
A morning off in Philadelphia.
State Flower (The state bird is the Ruffed Grouse!)/ Social realism. Granite relief murals on the side of the 9th Street Post Office. / City Hall. The figure on the top is the city’s founder, William Penn. There once stood a sort of gentlemen’s agreement that no building could be built higher than he stood. / Reading Terminal Market / Where the Constitution and the Bill of Rights was signed. And where I got growled by security guards for bypassing the 200+ people waiting in line to see the Liberty Bell across the road. (Pro tip: the back wall of the room that houses the bell is made of glass!) / Chasing Dreams. Outside the National Museum of Jewish American History. / A cute place I can’t remember! But I’m sure Benjamin Franklin had something to do with it. / Oh, Nerd Street. / Above an ice cream parlour. / A handsome fellow I almost got run over trying to say hello to, near Penn’s Landing (if anyone knows his name, please let me know). / And then, after all that, I curled back into bed at the hotel with my jet lag and these treats from Reading Terminal Market. / Okay…and maybe also these. (Coconut and Key Lime from Beilers. They were 95c each, and honestly so good I can’t even. Sitting on a pristine hotel bed, in the dappled morning light, on the other side of the world, eating a donut may be my new experience to beat.)
(Click on the photo’s to enlarge.)
With joyous love and tremendous thanks to Phantom. Who have been so kind as to invite me to perform at this:
If you know anyone in Philadelphia, make sure and send them along. It’s going to be really something.