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August 10, 2023

A flood of positive comments

I am ecstatic, stunned, amazed and so very happy! The letter entitled “Writing in a coffee shop” published on July 2 generated over 400 delicious comments. Really! This flood of kind words has set my heart soaring and makes me believe that I’m headed in the right direction with my writing.
When I was young, my mother insisted I learn piano, and for two long years, twice a week, I tapped and tapped on the keyboard without any improvement. I mixed up the notes: fa, mi, la, re, ti, do, so, and I didn’t know the difference between the white and black keys. All I ever learned from my piano sessions with my mother was to listen carefully when she insisted. If only she could see me today tapping away on my other keyboard, writing extravagant words and composing stories.

Dear readers, I always read your comments with great interest and fondness. So much so, that my heart races every time. Today, I want to extend a very special thank you.

Dear Eli L., THANK YOU for the kind words you had for me and thank you for reading me regularly. Yes, I have to admit that the coffee shop where I write is a nice place – warm, welcoming, where people naturally connect. If you lived in my area, you would certainly be our prophet Eli. He who listened to the Eternal’s word, telling him: “And it will be that you shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.” Eli, you must know that my village is overrun with these black birds.

Dear Nicole D., I am so happy we have connected. Thank you for reading me and yes, a huge YES: writing is a very courageous act. Like you mentioned: “There are at least two of us who doubt our words and the traces they leave on a blank sheet of paper.” I must tell you that I am dying to meet you one day. We could share our anguish and our love of words, with this endless chatter in our minds that busies our fingers on our keyboards. Would you say this chatter is inspiration or pure madness? I still don’t know.

Dear Nancy T., I look forward to seeing your beautiful face and knowing that you’re still with me every Sunday. You tell me there was a time when mass and dinner with the family was what brought people together on Sundays and that, today, my letters do the same? Thank you for the compliment; however even my best and most creative words here below could never replace the wisdom from above.

Dear Danielle O., I beg you, please don’t be sad because I haven’t found my prince charming. Love is such a strange, mysterious, capricious and audacious thing. And no, I still haven’t found the love of my life. I studied for many longer years and, the dummy I am, forgot to learn how to love. I’m an old woman now and I still struggle to look a man in the eye. Let’s feast on the warm colours of summer instead, you and I, and enjoy it while it lasts.

Dear Micheline P., CONGRATULATIONS and HAPPY 83rd BIRTHDAY, an occasion to celebrate in style! “Je sais, je sais,” (I know, I know), like the illustrious Jean Gabin said, “The day someone loves you, the weather is very nice.” Please know I love you and, if we were neighbours, we would chat merrily leaning on the backyard fence. You can only move forward. Old age is a carnival and we must do our best to enjoy every moment of it and make it last. Let’s rip off the pages of our calendars. Let’s stop calculating the years and make sure we can enjoy a few silly things here and there to keep us young at heart. A bouquet of flowers on the table, a few pieces of fudge, a new hairdo, a candy-coloured scarf. Let’s draw hearts instead of knitting them. One thing is certain: I am keeping you in my heart.

Dear Carmen G., thank you for trusting me. I sympathize with your suffering, but this too shall pass, like everything does eventually here on earth. Life has a twisted sense of humour and tests us by deceiving us. We move right and then the left jumps on us. What’s the problem, dear friend? In your head, in your body or in your heart? I implore you, don't give up. Nice weather always follows after the rain.

Dear Édithe P., you draw so well! I simply love your birds that look like they’ve spent the night on the town. The small blue curious one, the plump yellow one, the red one with its pointy nose, the green one who looks suspicious and the small purple one, with its head upside down. This type of drawing ignites my imagination. I’m convinced these pretty little birds are characters with stories to tell. The purple bird intrigues me; could he be a little troublemaker? I have to stop myself from writing it a letter.

My very kind André G., thank goodness you are still here and I’m very happy about it! I am trying to improve the quality of my writing and I watch out for my adverbs. The great Stephen King, in his book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, taught me that an adverb is never a good friend. He also mentioned, in one of the last chapters, that “the road to hell is paved with adverbs.” Can you imagine, dear André, that while we were correcting the 70,000-word manuscript for my book, which will be published in late September, we noticed it contained the adverb “TELLEMENT” (so) 75 times! Unthinkable, but true! Stephen King would burn my fingers he knew. I’m an excessive person, extravagant, immoderate, fiery, exuberant and unconstrained. I dig deeply between the lines. We ended up cutting the number of TELLEMENTs in half.