Thrifty Words

I take liberties with reality.
Follow on Twitter

(Semi-)Open Call for Correspondence!


The Writer Letters: Let’s Be Pen-Pals

So I’ve lately been having a little trouble keeping up any kind of actual writing pace. Nonetheless, I have had an idea for a while that I would really like to put into action, hopefully with the end result that I will get back into regular writing.

So, I am looking for…

(Semi-)Open Call for Correspondence!

The Writer Letters

So I’ve lately been having a little trouble keeping up any kind of actual writing pace. Nonetheless, I have had an idea for a while that I would really like to put into action, hopefully with the end result that I will get back into regular writing.

So, I am looking for people who would be interested in becoming pen-pals. My intention with this is to connect with people who enjoy/would like to try exchanging hand-written letters, with the express purpose of sharing pieces of writing. 

This can take any number different forms. I’m open to:

  • Exchanging letters in earnest as our honest-to-goodness selves, and trading unfinished work/bits and pieces to get some feedback 
  • Casual letter-writing for the sake of just getting to know each other and including some writing if desired.
  • Writing letters to play out an interaction between original characters/ to goof around and flesh out some story ideas.
  • Sending each other prompts to which we have to respond both with an answer to the prompt and a prompt of our own. 

Or any combination thereof, or any suggestion you might have yourself. The crux of this is that we keep each other inspired.

To be eligible:

  • You must obviously be comfortable sharing your address. I can solemnly promise I won’t abuse anybody’s personal information, or publish it in any way (if you make the same promise). All the exchange of info will take place privately, if it gets to that stage. 
  • You must have an active blog. Since I’m not sure what kind of response I’m going to get, I can’t say I’m going to give preference to writing blogs (although that’s sort of the idea), but I will be screening blogs a bit to make sure there’s a real person behind them.
  • I will, however, give preference to blogs I know and follow/have followed me for a significant amount of time. I play favourites, I know, it’s terrible. 
  • You must be prepared to stick with this for as long as we mutually agree to do so.

I’m going to be reblogging this regularly over the next couple weeks to see if anyone ends up being interested. If not, oh well!

If you are interested, please send a message to my inbox (anonymous messages will be DISREGARDED) and we can work out the details. 

I have a two week break coming up and I’m going to spend so much of it writing aaahhh

A Rumour of Midnight: Orchids (ii)

Our need to examine every detail that drifted to us as if secretly, yet intentionally delivered was, as ever, stronger than our common sense. Despite the German florist’s bemused stares—yielding no information to us other than his lack of interest in anything beyond the physical—we pressed on, in search of truth. We had convinced ourselves that somewhere in the choice of flowers there was some nugget of prophetic fact, something that would tell us what we could expect when finally the Hotel opened its doors to us and welcomed us back as it surely must. What we discovered, poring over richly illustrated textbooks (and, truth be told, some rather sensational books of mystic ‘wisdom’), was this: 

The varied and extravagant members of the family Orchidaceae outnumber both birds and mammals in terms of sheer number of species; they represent one of the two largest families of flowering plants, and in the history of their horticulture have been hybridized to such a staggering extent that we were reminded rather unexpectedly of a comparison we had once heard of flowers being rather like prostitutes, which now seemed quite apt. Certainly their resupinate flowers brought this to mind as well; and the origin of the name, too, was by no means lost on us. Flowers were, of course, sexual organs, and there was no blushing necessary to accompany the  admission of their true purpose. We were not stupid in this regard. 

Thus, the significance of the flowers in relation to the primal urges was a logical conclusion, confirmed for us by references to Chinese beliefs of their ability to ward against infertility and barrenness. Yet their connection to this realm came with a surprising undercurrent of morbidity: cut orchids were associated with the deaths of children; we tittered amongst ourselves that the flower could both inspire and rescind, create and destroy, provide and deny (nothing teased our palates so much as duality and contradiction, and it seemed, to our truly enormous sense of our own importance, that these flowers had been selected with such an effect in mind.) 

How fascinating! we exclaimed upon making these discoveries. Such portentous things we had uncovered, such rich meaning. Flushed as we were with self-satisfaction at having unveiled the facts, we repeated them over and over to each other, as if in repetition they would transform into some deeper and greater truth. In fact, by simply continuing to flap our mouths, what we were choosing to do was to deny to ourselves that really we had uncovered nothing. We had not in any way illuminated further the mystery of the Hotel, or its decision to have orchids delivered as opposed to any other flower, any of which may have served just as well to provoke our thirst for symbolic suggestion. We did not admit that— in the simple fact of a large order of flowers having been placed, at least—there was no meaning to be had. 

To this end, we repeated the phrase with a knowing air, as if there were no doubt whatsoever: Ah, yes, orchids.  

A Rumour of Midnight 

A Rumour of Midnight: Orchids

Then, four weeks after the work had begun, and so exquisitely timed as to occur at the height of our new and rabid fascination, a breakthrough came.

It had until then appeared as though whomever it was who had decided to bankroll this project—and we certainly nursed theories about their identity, too—had been making a concerted effort to use imported workers and distant suppliers to keep anyone in our city who might otherwise have ben involved utterly in the dark about the intended use of the Hotel Bellevieux. The obscurity had hitherto been perfect: many of us may have felt quite certain that we knew exactly what was going on, but these feelings were, as generally is the case, just pure arrogance. All of our suppositions were based on minor, miraculous glimpses of tantalizing nothings: the aforementioned deliveries, whose shapes we inevitably misinterpreted; the indecipherable actions of the workers;  and of course, the colourless dreams and visions we fooled ourselves into having and then believing as though they were sent to us with some kind of divine purpose. We were clueless.

But then, the German florist, whose English was only ever just good enough to do business and little else, reported to us:

"Orchids! Thousands of orchids, huge order. Deliver to the Hotel on June 21st." 

At last! As one creature we seized upon this new revelation and let its truthfully minimal prescient significance balloon until it may as well have been delivered by the Pythia herself. Orchids, we whispered, were an opulent choice. We let their myriad shapes fill our imaginations: we thought of their drooping mouths, like supine lovers with flushed and quivering bellies; the generous curves of their petals like the swell of plump thighs; or, taken as a whole, the dark, prurient truth of their resemblance to the organ that, in fact, they were. Certainly their inclusion in the designs of the benefactor behind the Hotel’s renovation must have been deliberate. They brought to our mind an unending parade of new, dark, carnal ideas about what we could expect when finally the place opened itself to us. 

Newly invigorated as we were, the German florist suddenly found himself besieged by legions of the curious. Ultimately, though, the city’s sleuths were disappointed to discover that the order had been made anonymously and that the only information to be found was:

"Orchids, various varieties and colours. 2000 blooms min."

And then the delivery date, the address, and finally the extravagant budget. The German florist, either because he lacked the vocabulary or because he wasn’t much for elaborate imaginings, simply repeated the facts of the order verbatim, and made no conjectures as to what it might ‘mean’. When we pestered him with questions as to the symbolic significance of the orchid, he simply stared at us, uncomprehending. Regardless, we remained undeterred. 

A Rumour of Midnight 

Cat cuddles beard. 
(Also writing is coming.)

Cat cuddles beard. 

(Also writing is coming.)

A Rumour of Midnight: Curiosity

Our own internal speculations in turn shaped what we thought we saw over the coming weeks. When the workers within had finished purging the Hotel of its vermin—none of us ever dared to wonder aloud what had become of the place’s cockroaches—and the entirety of its outer face had been obscured by scaffolding and drum-tight sheeting, we were left with no way to look inside. Everything became conjecture, out of necessity. 

And so, every bucket of paint, bolt of fabric, rolled-up carpet that sagged over a bent-double shoulder, every clandestine shape under thick white sheets could have been, and certainly did become, truly anything. Some of us imagined mundane and practical appliances like sinks and toilets and ovens and it was those among us who had supposed all along that the place was simply being restored as a hotel that insisted that these dull and everyday necessities were all that was being hidden from us. Slightly less pragmatic minds envisioned fabulous statues and priceless artifacts pilfered from strange, foreign places where such mysteries still lived; we imagined an enormous museum or gallery, halls upon halls of solemn painted faces and perfect marble-cast physiques. Small groups insisted on shapes that resembled film projectors and great filmreels, or else spotlights and mirrors and fill lights, and dreamed of a cinema or perhaps a theatre unfolding before us. 

As the weeks went on, our suppositions grew more and more outlandish, denied any true knowledge as we were. Our ideas about the hotel’s refurbishment became less and less likely; we began to imagine impossible creatures beneath the sheets, suspended in taxidermy and sporting improbable horns and wings and fangs and tails like serpents. We saw shapes we swore were sarcophagi, cages for lions or cages for birds (yet large enough for a person to be held inside). 

We were consumed more and more by our curiosity, for it was being exquisitely teased. We predicted a horror house, a zoo, a fabulous department store, a carnival, a wax museum, a menagerie of stuffed fantastic beasts. Denied any real evidence, we simply filled in the spaces with our own fabrications. 

A Rumour of Midnight 

qua3situm replied to your post “I’ve been so absent/behind/inactive and I hate it. ”

Life happens! Your writing has always been worth the wait anyhow. :D Take care!

That’s so sweet! I’ll be getting back to it soon. I hope. Haaaa. 

I’ve been so absent/behind/inactive and I hate it. 

A Rumour of Midnight: Pledge

Slowly, as the weeks went on the entire facade of the Hotel became obscured by scaffolding and that drum-tight maroon sheeting. In the parking lot, day by day more rotting, rusted and molded furniture began to appear; chipped porcelain lamps with peeling lacquer were tossed without care to shatter in smithereens and once-plush velvet chaises-longues were heaped in piles with their legs splintered like so much kindling and their mold-damp cushions baking dry in the hot sun. Mirrors and plates smashed in merry chorus, tossed out in plastic bags by the hundreds. Couches and chairs and beds were hewed in halves and then pitched onto the pavement to be ushered away by garbage trucks that miraculously came each day to remove them.

Some of us were bold enough to go through the ejected finery, and from the looks of what we found, those grave men and women inside had been truly merciless.

"I found most of a Tiffany lamp. A real one, too," Adelaide Hurte told anyone who would listen to her. "Look, there’s the stamp, LCT, look. A real Tiffany lamp.” 

Adelaide would never try to restore or use the thing, instead taking the skeletal remains of it with its lapidary laburnums–the missing petals leaving perfect voids like little bullet holes–and using it as a conversation piece in her parlour. She was not the only one to claim a piece of the Hotel’s trash as a treasure to tempt questions. We all felt a kind of protectiveness of the secret that was the Hotel’s sudden rejuvenation; of course, we didn’t let our ignorance of the answer get in the way. We each thought we knew, and we were at least certain of where we stood in the rumour wars, and that, as ever, was truth enough.

A Rumour of Midnight