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Here is everything you need to know which is not included in the key signature:

1. I try for a full minute to spell the world “helpful” in order to explain to a friend that I’m sorry I’m not.  I stop, finally, at “helfpu,” which still isn’t right but at least registers in the right key as the thing I’d like to do. Helf pu.

2.Yesterday we had Thanksgiving dinner with my mother and my sister was noticeably gone. Between dinner and dessert we did the dishes while my mother dug a grave for our dog and then my brother helped her with the burial.

[Transcribed from my 5th grade diary:

Dear Mom,

I’m causing to much trouble. And since Jasper has taken my place I think I’ll live in the garage for a while. Until you LOVE ME AGAIN. I always thought mistakes were good to make when your a kid, so that you don’t make more mistakes later. And I also thought I was still a kid. And I should not rush into growing up but I guess I was wrong. I am the lazy and the stupid one aren’t I. Rebecca Novack

Dear Rebecca,

I read your letter to mom about living in the garage and I don’t think that Jasper took your place. Cheer up and please don’t go and live in the garage. Also I read some of your other notes like the one that said mom thinks your always wrong. thats not true but sometimes you do some pretty stupid things. Bye for now, Jessica]

3.I can’t finish a crossword puzzle because I forget the Will-Shortz-honored-woodwind-word “oboe.”

4. Shut up and stop fucking dying, you fucking asshole. I can’t take it.

5. I’m flying back to Boston in the middle of the night on Sunday but will have run out of my medication. I’ll arrive Monday morning– morning of my 25th birthday, expecting ambient hum, some isolation, what Tchaikovsky reminds us it might sound like to feel all alone.



I don’t know what to tell you from here. Certainly there is nothing that would not betray someone’s confidence. Confidence like certainty of one’s self. Confidence like a secret. I write in double negatives even though I know I won’t be able to understand them myself when I reread the sentence. There can be so little space for editing when I have this little patience with–

N. Over and over I dream about racing to the airport. I find out I am to leave and have to pack as though I will never return. My wrists begin to ache because of the repetitive motion.

D. Repetitive motion leaves my wrists aching.

L. I am invited to contribute to half a dozen things and I do want to. A list. An outline: anxiety, fluidity, anxious fluidity. But the mere thought leaves me shuddering and drooling.

I. I stalked you and found you. It wasn’t as hard as you said it would be. You and your ostentatious face and your ugly self. You and your thin, wealthy nose, you and your–

F. I am going to Colorado for Thanksgiving. It breaks all these years to say that I am going “home” for Thanksgiving. But I do. And I am.

B. I’m sorry about disappearing. It was an emergency, I promise. But it’s not one that Kant would have vetted.

I. Stop it. You’re killing me. Sorry. You’re actually not killing me. But something is and it’s moving faster–

M. You shouldn’t have gone or you should have told her sooner because she could have handled it. Now everyone is left thinking they could have helped you. Nevermind, I guess there wasn’t a right decision.