The Dire Fern

Dearest L_________,

I have enclosed for your consideration the cover from one of those degenerate pieces of dime literature. I recently stumbled upon a large collection of such volumes in a shop and felt moved to share one or two with you for your amusement. The pictured lady is no doubt a poet, as she appears to be a lady of some refinement. My dear friend Mr. L_____ has noted that poets have the most remarkable lips (although I must note here that when he says “remarkable” he means “a little strange” or “perhaps bizarre” or “somehow unsettling.”) This may be a too rough or unkind appraisal of the lady, but I do say that her lips are that of a poet.

What is that she is leaning upon?

Oh dear look at the time. Ta ta!

Kindest Regards,

Mr. D_____ S______

February 7, 1908

——– o ———
The reply to D.S. from L. has been lost.
——– o ———

Dearest L_________,

What a pleasure it is to hear from you. I am doubly gratified to learn that you took a moment of your time to consider my trifling missive.

I must confess that I had forgotten about that miserable fern which belonged to poor Constance. I hope that this statement will not shock you, as my affection for Constance (though please consider it always took the form of friendly affection) can only be said to have been the equal of my consternation over her fern. In short, I blame her untimely end on that dastardly pteridophyte. More properly, we may wish to refer to that plant as a vampire. It simply refused to brighten a room no matter where the poor dear placed it, and equally, no matter how much Constance tried to beautify it. That dire, black fern! To see her worry and fret over it while coughing consumptively. And after it had finally broken her heart, she relegated it to the foyer, a place of honor! I hope this does not worry you, but I really must confess my suspicions to a friend.

Perhaps that’s why I forgot all about the pedestal. I am picturing it in my mind’s eye and indeed agree with your assertion that she kept that dire fern upon it.

As for the lady, I had not considered her from this vantage. How droll! Hmmmm. I can only say that I would find her a bit intimidating.


Mr. D_____ S______

March 14, 1908

Recent work

hoichi's guide

On the topic of what I have been up to lately, I’ve finished (I think) the series of drawings that I started last year to go along with a story I wrote. Above is a piece titled “Hoichi’s Guide” which sold at the Portland Art Center in December. For those unfamiliar with Lafcadio Hearn’s Hoichi the Earless, click on the link to read the story. You’ll be glad you did. Right now I’m working on some more stories but also struggling with a general lack of direction.

Ladies Rowing Club of 1891

Dearest L______,

In case you have never been given a copy, I have attached for your consideration a photograph of the Ladies Rowing Club of 1891. Although I daren’t say that I am any more than acquainted with any one of them, I do consider this a very fine photo. Observe how Miss Beatrice has framed her composition. I can hear her now, calling to the ladies. “Petunia! Please don’t look so glum! Winnifred! We cannot READ the 91 on your oar! Will you please turn it a bit? Yes. That is fine.” I am sure there were plenty of groans before Miss Beatrice warned them to hold still for the shutter.

Notice how well Miss Myrtle has posed on the chair. I detect a great deal of prompting from Miss Beatrice. Unfortunately, Miss Petunia still looks glum. And who can blame her? I confess to being unaware of the events which led to her departure from Whelmsley, but her departure was sudden enough that I dare say something must have been bothering her during this shoot.

Kindest regards,

D_____ S______

March 10, 1908

1929 Jung’s Anima and Six Gun Law

A few years ago I had a series of very powerful and symbolic dreams which I discussed with someone who was familiar with the works of Jung. When I mentioned that the star of these dreams was a dream person who has been in dreams I’ve had over the course of my life, the person suggested that this was probably my anima (click the link for a Wikipedia page on the subject.)

Both of these drawings are very dream-like to me, and there’s something about the woman in them that reminds me of my anima.

Besides the fact that they are from a serialized western story which appeared in a 1929 newspaper, I don’t know much about these pictures, although I asked the original scanner if he could find any more info (such as the artist) on them.

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