Thank you for sending me your book, even though you said—cheekily—that I would hate it. I didn’t. Your artificial humility was unearned. Triburbia is a fabulous book, not fabulous as in fabulist, no it’s realist, as real as a utopia about Tribeca can be. I use the word utopia with real care. Triburbia is not the kind of utopia Thomas More would think up, but for your characters, Tribeca is utopia. To have a place in Tribeca is to have achieved, to have made it, and yet, and yet, here they are, suffering just like the rest of us plebs.
Dear Ben Marcus,
I just finished The Flame Alphabet. I woke up early on a Sunday morning to finish reading. And it was magnificent. I have read your books, or several of them at least. I read Age of Wire & String and Notable American Women the summer before starting grad school. They are audacious books, the syntax unlike anything I’d read before – call me a limited reader, of course, I’ve since read a lot more and come to understand its lineage – I wanted to emulate your style, your language, the way you created complex narrative by parataxis. I thought you were a fearless writer, and back then, I was young and afraid, although I didn’t show it in workshop, I wanted to be liked, as we all do when we’re young and insecure, but you, you were brazen, your writing was full of effrontery, and that’s what I wanted most in my writing. In short, you were an inspiration, maybe the biggest and most influential to me as a student.
Dear Evan Lavender-Smith,
I have read your two books. I have read and loved your two books. I couldn’t tell they were bred from the same body – yours – and your breadth alone amazes. Your breadth is the least of my compliments. From Old Notebooks: bursts of brilliance, ideas merely generated, without bodies with which to attach, organs without bodies. Avatar: a requiem, lodged between mourning and jubilance. The sadness I encountered with every string of words, I can’t describe it. The loneliness. Avatar felt like a return home, like you somehow understood me, like the book was composed for me alone, but it wasn’t.
Dear Lidia Yuknavitch,
It’s your birthday, and I am grateful you exist.
Even if it wasn’t your birthday, I’d be grateful.
Lidia, the first book of yours I read was in 2004, Her Other Mouths. I read it for a class with Steve Tomasula. I read it and thought: fuck, writing really can do this. Mind you: I’d read Kathy Acker. I’d read James Joyce. I’d read Raymond Federman. I’d read Samuel Beckett and Virginia Woolf and Gertrude Stein and David Foster Wallace and Anne Carson. I’d read a whole bunch of people, but it was your book that told me that I could write what I wanted to write, how I wanted to write it. Your book was brazen and unapologetic. Most of the other books I was reading were cowering and pretty, like princesses rather than heroines.
Your book was a heroine.