I have always had a deep fascination for books that come in the form of letters, journals or diaries. Being written in a first person’s voice makes the reading experience so much more intimate and personal, I feel. There is just that sense of a ‘romantic notion’ attached to letters and diaries that I find very appealing.

“Letters to Anyone and Everyone” was an unexpected gem of a find in a fabulous books sale I went to towards the end of last year.  Credit should actually be given to my mum who went with me, for the delightful find. She, who usually only finds her bounty at the cook books section, came across this little volume and thought I might be interested. And how right she was! This beautifully illustrated book by Toon Tellegen, happens to be a collection of short stories made up of fantastic dreamlike tales in the form of letters between animals and the world around them. This set of amusing and entertaining letters serves as a light diversion from the emotionally intense set of letters between Warner & Ackland which I am slowly making my way through.

Here are samples of what you will find within the pages of this unusual book.

Dear Snail,
May I invite you to dance with me on top of your house?
Just a few steps? That’s what I want most of all. I promise I’ll dance very delicately, so we won’t fall through your roof. But of course, you can never be really sure.
The elephant

Dear Elephant,
I’m certain I”d like to dance with you on my roof one day.
I’m almost convinced of that. I think I’m a very good dancer.
But unfortunately I don’t think it’s such a good idea just at the moment.
The snail

 Dear Stranger,
The salmon told me that you exist. He says you’re real. But he doesn’t know what plans you have for the water.
I’m the carp.
Maybe you know me. Perhaps you even came to my birthday party. There were many animals there, so I can’t be sure. If you came to my birthday party, you may have heard me recite something. Or had you already left by then?
If you were still there, did you think it was nice?
I’m writing to tell you that I am very happy with the water. If you are responsible, then thank you.
I think it could flow a little faster sometimes…. […]
You could also give me an occasional flood. It’s so wonderful to be able to swim up a tree. If only you knew, you’d make sure it kept flooding. [….]
But that big freeze-up in winter; why do you do that? What’s the point? Please don’t!

The carp stopped writing for a bit and thought. Then he carried on :

I do apologize if I got carried away there. But have you ever been frozen in the water? It’s terrible!
Now I’m going to go and have another swim.
By the way, you don’t have to remain anonymous. You could just reveal your identity to me if you prefer. I can keep my mouth shut; you can count on that. But of course you can remain anonymous if you like.
Would you mind if I say goodbye now?
Goodbye,
The carp.

 

Dear Squirrel,
If you don’t mind, then I’d like to make a short speech at your birthday party.
You see, I’ve discovered something called balance.
Have you ever heard of it?
Balance, that’s what it’s called.
I’m convinced everyone will find it very interesting.
I would like to make my speech from the top of the beech tree with everyone below me on the ground.
(I won’t make it too long).
The elephant.


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2 thoughts on “Letters of a different sort…..

  1. You might like “The Literary Guernsey and Potato Peel Pie Society” then. It’s completely in letters, which is why it annoyed me. Sounds like it might be your thing though 🙂

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    1. As a matter of fact, I do have that one sitting on the shelves for quite a while now. And it is my intention to get to it next! Thanks for thinking to suggest it to me, though. 🙂 Too bad it wasn’t your cup of tea.

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