Nobel prize winner Alice Munro is my favourite author. In 2002, when I finished reading another collection of her stories, I was moved to write her a card of appreciation. It read: Dear Alice (may I call you Alice?), Regarding the collection "Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage" - Unbe-fucking-lievable. You are the master and you can put that on your dust jacket and smoke it.
Alice wrote back. Read the card below to see her reply in her own handwriting. I'll wait...
So my words were on Alice's refrigerator. I was thrilled. I showed the card to everyone and joked that I wished I had a fridge to stick hers on, or at least a fridge door. Someone took that seriously and word went out in our little community that I needed a fridge door and there were several offers. I was afraid people would start leaving their broken down appliances in my yard. I put a note on the gate, "No fridge doors today, please."
Later in the year I felt compelled to write to Alice again when a robin I was caring for pooped upon a book of hers. I took a picture of the robin with the book and mailed it to her with some dumb caption about a book worth shitting on. I meant it as a compliment but sometimes only I get my jokes. The way it was worded it could only be taken as a criticism, and a rude one at that, but I noticed too late. I have always felt bad about that. Maybe it's time to write Alice another letter - we have unfinished business.
Now that Alice is a Nobel Prize winner I've pulled out her card from where it lives between the pages of the Oxford Canadian Dictionary under M and I'm showing it off once more.
No fridge doors please.
Jay Rainey is an artist living on an island in British Columbia, Canada.