Dear Writer

By Bianca Taylor

 

Dear writer

My name is Ashley. I’m twenty four years old, have a size eight shoe, and am an avid reader. I’m writing you this letter as a joke, because I don’t believe you exist.

See, I’ve been reading a great deal of meta-fiction recently, where the main character is aware that he’s just a character, and I’ve began to doubt my own existence. I mean, I live a normal life and everything. The people in my neighbourhood are normal enough. There are no monsters or fairies or strange things like that – but what if normal is only normal because I’m made to see it that way? Maybe I’m just a random character driven by another being’s will – namely yours!

So, if you are real, do something to prove it please? Make something strange or wild happen in my life.

I just want to know for sure.

Yours eagerly

Ashley.

*

Dear writer

It’s been two weeks and nothing different has happened in my life. I went to my office job every day without being attacked by ninjas. You didn’t send me a dragon on my weekend trip to the country. I didn’t even meet my significant other by chance while on lunch breaks in the park. You have literally done nothing.

I am highly disappointed in you and I am beginning to believe that you don’t exist after all. If you don’t want to be ignored forever, I suggest you make some sort of effort.

Yours somewhat less eagerly

Ashley.

*

Dear writer

I have nothing to say to you. You’re an embarrassment. You don’t exist. This will be the last letter I ever write to you, because I know now that you’re not there to receive it.

Not yours anymore

Ashley.

*

Dear writer

I take back everything I ever said about you. You are amazing.

Things are going great – just as you planned I expect. I got a promotion because I dedicated so much time to work. I bought a bigger apartment than my last one and most importantly, I found my soul mate.

You made it happen so subtly. There was no sudden love at first sight and such, but I respect your realistic version of a first meeting. We met on an online dating site, chatting and sending messages back and forth until we began to feel comfortable with each other. We share so many interests and conversation flows so easily between us. We’ve started chatting and sending messages to each other every day now.

I’m happy, and it’s all thanks to you. If you were trying to prove you are real, you’ve done an excellent job. I’ll be sure to send you another message soon!

Yours gratefully

Ashley.

*

Dear writer

So, a lot of things have happened in the past month, as you know.

I lost my job because my performance level was too low, and maybe it was my own fault. I’ve been so distracted lately. My love and I sometimes stay awake late into the night chatting, and I’d be too tired to go to work the next morning. I missed some days because I just didn’t feel like going in to work. It didn’t interest me anymore.

So I’ll find a new one. One I really like. My love will support me for sure and I know you have some goal in mind by doing this. Your story isn’t quite the fantasy I want, since there are no dragons or quests, but I’m hoping it’ll still be worth something. I’ll send you another letter later this month.

Yours complacently

Ashley.

*

Dear writer

I lost my love. Somehow we fell out of contact after I lost my job and couldn’t get another. I don’t really understand why you made that happen. I thought we were soul mates. Things are looking tough at the moment, to be honest. I don’t know how I’m going to pay my rent this month and I only just have enough to buy groceries for the next few weeks. I guess I can ask my dad for some help, but it doesn’t seem like a very heroic thing to do, does it?

Well, I’m sure things will eventually turn out all right. Everything must happen according to some plan. All heroes go through hardships and that’s how they become stronger, right? I’m counting on you, writer.

Yours hopefully

Ashley.

*

Dear writer

I’m still waiting for things to get better over here.

I had to move back in with my dad because I couldn’t afford the apartment anymore. I’ve tried for a few job interviews in the past few weeks, but none of them have gotten back to me yet. I have another one tomorrow but to be honest I’m kind of doubtful.

I spend all day reading or playing on the computer because I have nothing else to do. It’s weird that I never noticed how few friends I have until now. I don’t really like people that much, but it might be nice having someone I could go out with. My dad’s been pretty supportive and I don’t want to let him down, but I can see he thinks I’m a disappointment.

Please send me some good luck, writer. I need it right about now.

Yours desperately

Ashley.

*

Dear writer

Why couldn’t you have placed me in a different story? Why couldn’t I have been an adventurer in a fantasy world or an explorer in the depth of space? Why make me like this? There’s no excitement, no adventure, nothing. I can’t even call this a story anymore because it’s stagnating. I’m stagnating.

Have you forgotten about me? Did you start my story and then suddenly become bored and leave me here to rot? That’s not fair. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do.

What do you want me to do?

Please, give me something. Anything. I need a sign. Something to show me that you are there.

Ashley

*

Dear writer

I’ve been giving it a lot of thought recently.

Maybe you’re not the one who doesn’t exist. Maybe it’s actually me that doesn’t. If I’m just a character, then that means I was just a stray thought you decided to jot down on paper. Unlike you, I have no purpose. I have no meaning or function in life. Everything I am amounts to nothing, and that’s why everything I seem to do amounts to nothing.

This is all one big metaphor of nothing.

And you allowed me to end up like this, reflecting real life and real people; because you believe people are nothing as well. I base this on how you never even made the effort to define me.

My name is Ashley. I’m twenty four years old with a size eight shoe and a love of books.

That’s how you defined me. That is all I am to you.

I will not be writing to you again, writer. I don’t feel there’s a need. Either you don’t exist, or I don’t. Either way, there will be nothing lost or gained by our ignorance of one another.

Goodbye

Ashley.

*

Dear writer

It’s been a while. I know we left on bad terms. But I think we may have had a misunderstanding.

Things turned out alright for me after I stopped writing to you. I moved on, found a new job and got a new apartment. I’m more motivated and dedicated than I’ve ever been before and I think I’m happy.

I know I did this all by myself. I want to credit myself with it, but oddly enough I think of you whenever I find some means of success. In fact, I think of you when I find defeat as well. My feelings towards you sway between obsessive hate and reluctant love on a daily basis.

It’s not healthy actually. I should have forgotten about you by now. I keep coming back and I know it’ll just end in me blaming you for everything that goes wrong in my life.

So, I’m going to try keep our contact to a minimum from now on. I’ll send you a letter here or there just to check in with you. But there will be no commitment.

I know I accused you of not existing and of hating people. I was in a very depressed frame of mind at the time. I hope we will be able to look past that.

Yours amiably

Ashley.

*

Dear writer

I got a dog. I picked her up at the animal shelter yesterday. She’s a beautiful golden lab, just over two years old. I think I’ll call her Bella.

Thank you for pointing her out to me.

Yours curtly but cordially

Ashley.

*

Dear writer

I have a date tonight.

Fingers crossed it’ll turn out well. I’ve been off my game for a while so I’m a little afraid I’ll make a fool of myself. Any boost in charisma points will be mightily appreciated.

Yours excitedly

Ashley.

*

Dear writer

Thank you for totalling my car.

That truck could have easily turned down the other lane. You didn’t have to have him collide with me. Now I’m going to have to pay a fortune to have the car fixed.

Thanks a lot

Ashley.

*

Dear writer

I’m sorry I yelled at you. I was lucky to have survived.

Ashley.

*

Dear writer

Do you reflect yourself in your characters?

When you jot something down on a page, what are you thinking about? When you feel some emotion, do you make me feel it too? Or is it the other way around, and when I feel an emotion, I imagine you feeling it too?

Do you reflect me, or do I reflect you? What are we to each other?

The way I see it: I need you. I don’t always want you, but I need you to exist. If you exist, I know I exist.

I don’t want to live in uncertainty, and that’s why I keep writing to you, even if you aren’t there.

You’re as real to me, as I am to you.

Ashley.

*

Dear writer

It’s been a while.

I’ve been very busy lately moving furniture into the new house. My fiancé’s been helping, but between work, the move and all the other crap going on, I haven’t had much time to send you a letter.

I’m doing alright I suppose. As you likely know, dad passed away over Christmas. I handled it quite well, all things considered. We knew his condition was getting worse and when it actually happened the shock wasn’t as hard as it could have been. We had a quiet funeral. I thought the rain was a touching gesture and thank you for that. He always liked the wet weather.

I probably won’t be sending a message again for a while. Things are going to get quite busy over the next few months. As always, I will keep you in my thoughts though, and treasure your presence in my story.

Yours thoughtfully

Ashley.

*

Dear writer

Why did you have to give me such a difficult daughter?

I spend the entire day working and have to come home to a screaming, selfish little brat every day. Sometimes I’m scared I might just lash out at her I feel so frustrated.

Why couldn’t you give me a better behaved child who loved books and was quiet during the night?

Yours infuriated

Ashley.

*

Dear writer

Give her back.

Ashley.

*

Dear writer

I’m alone again.

I don’t know how it happened, but things just took a turn for the worst again.

I’m not going to blame you this time. I’m done with thinking that way. I control my own destiny and make my own mistakes. I will move on past them and whatever else you throw my way.

Because there’s nothing else I can do.

Yours resignedly

Ashley.

*

Dear writer

What does it mean to live?

People say that life is a sequence of hardships and triumphs, but if I’m just a character, why do I have to have the prior? Do I have to reflect real life so much that I have to suffer? Is that the price of existing?

If I can feel sadness. If I can feel loss. Does that make me real? Is that the proof of my existence?

If that is the case, then does that make protagonists in other stories real too? How do you know you’re not just a protagonist yourself, writer?

I don’t know. I’m tired of thinking now.

Yours dismissively

Ashley.

*

Dear writer

I don’t want to be a character anymore and I’m tired of this roundabout, unresolved story you seem to be typing away out of boredom.

Do us both a favour, and please, just end it already.

Ashley.

*

Dear reader

Thank you for your time. Unfortunately, Ashley no longer wished to participate in this story, so I had to end it. I apologise for the suddenness and wish you better with your future readings.

And your future protagonists.

Yours forever.

The writer.

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Dear Writer

  1. Don’t know you or anything about you, but this is brilliant. Love the voice and yes it’s highly meta; and this poor character, I felt for her, and I felt for who was writing her, and then the stuff with her daughter… fantastic, well-written, and totally readable. Excellent.

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