I knew what epistolary meant before you.

he-was-plancking-before-it-was-cool

Hi Grace,

You might not remember me, but I met you at Jill Landers’ party two weeks back – I was the one wearing the hessian scarf, stone-wash overalls and a shirt featuring the entire cast of Hey Dad. It was an outfit inspired by my late grandad, a humble wheat farmer, whose earthy ensembles have heavily influenced my fashion sense. The point of my email is that my friend apparently overheard you referring to it as a bit too “now?” I insisted she misheard, but she was adamant. Just hoping to settle this bet (I’ve got $50 riding on it!)

P.S. I couldn’t stop ogling your fedora – where did you get it?

Yours enquiringly,

Stephanie!

 

Hi Stephanie,

I do remember you, and that shirt. What a brilliant aesthetic nod to a truly legendary Australian show (albeit one that harboured a paedophile). In regards to the above comment, I wouldn’t be caught dead saying anything so gauche. If I was pushed, however, to find a fault – and I’m reaching here – it would possibly be that your gloves were a tad obvious (if you get my drift.) Perhaps something you might see in an indie film, but one that has been too successful. The rest of your outfit was impeccable, however, and this minor gaffe shouldn’t detract from what was an otherwise arresting ensemble.

P.S. As for the fedora, I’d love to divulge, but my dealer has sworn me to secrecy. (As you can imagine, the more clients she has, the less successful she’ll be.)

Hoping for your understanding,

Grace

 

Hi Grace,

Thanks for taking the time to get back to me. I would have replied sooner, but I’m currently writing a dissertation on the religious leanings of underground 80s punk band Crimson Moon. You may not have heard of them as they were only famous for one week, and even then only among five people, (one of whom includes yours truly.) A small heads-up: I may have accidentally found your fedora!! And when I say your fedora, I mean its duplicate, at Target. People were buying it in their droves! Uh oh!

Love Stephanie

 

Hi Stephanie,

Cheers for the heads-up, but I burnt it several weeks ago (almost immediately after leaving the party), as my faultless fashion radar augured its eventual dribble into the mainstream. It would have been classic if you’d purchased it though. ROFL.

(I am quite literally ROFLING at the moment – I’m trying to break in a pair of dungarees I bought from a homeless man. It has nothing to recommend it other than the brutally distressed look I’m currently applying).

Yours from the floor,

Grace

 

Hi Grace

I went back and bought the Fedora soon after sending you this email. It was a figurative finger to consumerism, and since the herd will soon have discarded it in their migration to the next mass trend, I plan on wearing it ironically at the very instant it becomes redundant. Perhaps with a pair of bifocals that only allows me to see half the world clearly. (A metaphor for the intellectual blindness that envelops the general public).

Stephanie

 

Dear Stephanie,

It was with a sense of sadness that I read your latest correspondence. I fear you may have fallen prey to an avaricious sale assistant offloading last year’s stock. How awful to be thwarted in your attempt to stick it to the man/woman/transgendered. Love to write more, but I’m currently in Paris. (The plane ticket was so dear I had to make my oeufs brouillés from caged eggs. Gasp.)

Grace

 

Hi Grace

I pray to anything or anyone that may or may not listen (I’m currently an agnostic pantheist) that you aren’t in Paris for the purpose of shopping. In 1987, when I began my sartorial quest, viciously jettisoning the foul booties my mother was attempting to shod me with, I vowed never to support a country that so brazenly railroads the avant-garde individual, whose lack of money in no way reflects his stylistic vision.

Yours from the under pits of an Armadale op shop,

Stephanie

 

Hi Stephanie,

Your presumption that I am doing Paris as the everyman shows an appalling lack of insight into my self-effacing aesthetic. Far from relying on the vulgar greenback, I’m currently eschewing worldly pleasures in a hostel that has attempted to recreate the squalor of early 1900s Montmartre. The unassuming couple who run it rely solely on good faith donations and the profits from their medicinal marijuana business. My quarters are frequented by a Tibetan monk, an ex-KKK member, a failed fashion designer and a four-fingered prostitute. Need I say more? All of which have inspired me to create this outfit (photo attached) which, I think you’ll appreciate, could not have found its inspiration in Armadale.

And yes, that gentleman begging in the background is a genuine leper.

Love Grace

 

Hi Grace,

Please refer to me now as Marcel – I recently changed it in honour of the great Marcel Duchamp, whose ground-breaking piece, Fountain, changed forever the face of modern art. (One need not travel 9000 miles in order to be inspired by the denizens of that great land). By adopting a unisex name, I simultaneously challenge the shackles of gender dichotomisation. I think you’ll find that the sexism inherent in unambiguously “female” names (see Grace) may foster sexual harassment, rape and even literal/figurative death.

Marcel

 

Hi Marcel,

And I can hardly bring myself to say that name without revisiting my dinner. That particular name, at least according to the New Yorker, featured in the top 100 baby names of 2014. Whoops. I’m sure you can have it rescinded. I just lit some Fair Trade incense in the hope that you can.

Grace

Hi Grace

Oh no!! I think my message may have been too revolutionary for you!!! Let me elucidate: I was already aware that it was in the top 100 names – (I’ve been subscribed to the New Yorker since 1993, when, as a young girl, I realised that Enid Blyton’s overtly misogynistic works were retarding my intellectual and spiritual growth). In a startlingly bold move, I have intentionally chosen the most popular contemporary name, ergo undermining the fetish for the “novel” which so dominates mass culture.

Have you come across the writings of Slavoj Zizek? In one of his more ground-breaking claims he suggests that overt conformity tacitly operates to subvert conformity. I strongly recommend it, especially if you’ve been consisting solely on a diet of that notorious fraud Hegel, whose work, frankly, leaves me cold.

Enlighteningly yours,

Marcel

 

Hi Marcel,

Impotent missions aside, I believe it was the revered writer Elmore Leonard who advised that one should use no more than three exclamation marks per 100,000 words of prose. Unless you plan on rewriting War and Peace (and I highly doubt this given the quality of your emails), you will still have far exceeded your quota. Ironic exclamation mark!! It is also clear to any discerning woman that the exclamation mark is a phallic symbol that represses woman at the very moment of its employment. I hope you don’t mind me speaking bluntly, but I’m a little shocked at your ignorance.

In the hope of your grammatical emancipation,

Grace

 

Hi Grace

This supposedly phallic symbol, I think you’ll find, is complete with a period at the bottom. If the stamp of the female was ever more clearly inscribed, I’d eat my ironic fedora!! Among the vulgus this might be construed as male dominance, but the period clearly overrides this, functioning as the base from which all (re)productive male exploits find their source. It’s a fact generally overlooked by those who haven’t proceeded beyond an undergraduate degree.

A free-form Haiku I wrote on this exact topic has recently been published in online Zine, “Plato’s Lunchbox” and they have kindly agreed to donate my fees to the fund of my choice, most of which will go to “free the caged chickens and their compliant oppressors.” Considering that situational ethics are the refuge of the moral pauper, I found that your week-on/ week-off support of chickens’ wellbeing, inexcusable. But that’s just me and the chickens talking. The rest I spread out across numerous aid organisations, as to privilege one charity over the other would no doubt plummet us into that very same caste system which currently holds the Indian people to ransom.

The Ganges, on a side note, is a personal Mecca, and I look forward to swimming with these noble people, who, despite their tragic attire, exhibit a true artistic spirit.

Marcel

 

Marcel,

To implicitly support the work of late 16th century missionary Vasco de Ataíde, who ingratiated himself with the locals of that hallowed land as a purely self-gratifying venture, you enact a neo-colonialism that is as appalling as it is tasteless. It is also a dreadfully common offense. If you no longer wish to be shackled by the burden of conventionalism; one which is obviously taxing your mental health, let me take this opportunity to invite you to a small seminar I’m delivering this afternoon entitled “society’s salamander; shedding orthodoxy in the age of (un)reason.” I think the error of your ways will soon become evident.

Grace

 

Grace,

I mean no offence when I say that I think your seminar will be little more than the ravings of a madman and that I would rather drink cat’s piss than come.

Best,

Marcel

 

Hi Marcel,

No offence taken. As the great Alexander Pope once said, to err is human, to forgive, divine. With this in mind I overlooked your obviously self-directed anger; anger that was, no doubt, the result of gross inebriation and the humiliation of another rejected manuscript.

P.S. I am currently in the process of writing a book called “Dante’s Inferno Revisited.” In it, I detail a Tenth circle of Hell which involves all its citizens having to wear those gloves and listen to your voice (which I imagine resembles the mating call of a particularly libidinous bird) ad infinitum. After a day, I imagine the residents will be gagging for some good old fashioned hellfire.

Grace

 

Hi Grace (Exercised below)

Touring inside the cesspool of your mind was a Kafkaesque nightmare from which I may never recover. Consequently, I face Robert Frost’s proverbial fork in the road: one path tells me to raise funds for your immediate lobotomisation. The other involves me telling you that you’re a Grade A shithead and I hope you lose whichever hand is responsible for penning the relentless excrement that you label “literature.” Let me confess that I did not take the road less travelled.

Much Love,

Marcel

 

Dear Mrs Jones,

Please accept my sincerest apologies on the passing of your daughter Marcel (nee Stephanie). I am sure that as she was being trampled to death under the feet of her contemporaries, she felt the warm embrace of knowing that her persistent rallying would, sooner or later, lead to the eradication of Hegel from all tertiary syllabi. Please kindly let me know when and where the funeral ceremony is, so I can pay my last respects to this extraordinary woman. I hope it’s not too much to ask that I be able to say a few words at the funeral? I know that no one was a more fervent supporter of my literary pursuits than your daughter. It will be a small and moving excerpt from my recently-published novel: “The ironic fedora: Cosmic justice in the age of skepticism.” I think she’d have got a real kick out of it.

Best,

Ecstatic (nee Grace).

 

 

 

 

 

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