It is said we are all made of stardust (as if that evens the playing field) but you clearly cut yourself from your own cloth. I don’t know where I stand in relation to you, but in my mind you are walking backward up a very steep incline and I’m at the bottom with my neck craned and my eyes pierced by the sun wondering, “How does she do that in a skirt?” Life, maybe, wants to knock you down. I call bullshit. Not for the reason you’re thinking. I’ll get back to this.

I believed in magic when I first read you because your essay spit me out transformed. Your work was better than a maze on the back of an unopened cereal box. It spun into my head upside down and I swam in that word story. I swam past the pages into the dimension of your recreated history, shook uncontrollably with hollow pain because your black on white is truth, heated myself over fires where I was reforged, my brain alight, into something better tempered. Someone better able to land back at home in a redefined life because, and this is what really happened, you transformed that too.

I’ve always loved reading dictionaries, so please understand that when I compared you to that venerated tome of knowledge, I compare you to (in)finite wisdom. Finite because our bodies are finite even when we are alchemists practiced in the arts of transmogrification. Infinite because maybe our brains are stardust. Maybe we are the universe. But if I am a universe, you must be ten. I learn from you approximately a universe every day.

Bullshit on life because its rigid interpretations try to lock you in. You break every fucking mold. You break and you remake. You shine like all the discovered suns. You burn as your forge because if there was ever a Creator, you are one.

Don’t read this as worship, but do read in respect. If not for you, I would be less. If not for you, I would still be changing a single ripple in the pond at a time instead of washed off the sandy edge by a tidal wave. I would be rolled over in still water to sight the sky. I would be floating, but not adrift. Meaning? Unchallenged. Untried. Unallied.

Right now it feels as though you are about to eclipse. I cannot speak to permanence here. If there is a lesson it is that we should better recognize our most valuable resources. It is that we should pave their way in place of red carpets for kings. The sparkle of minds like yours will evolve us from the common conception of cavemen to our place in the stars. You will help us to survive our stories even as we artificially limit yours.

I don’t know if there’s a takeaway here other than love. What you offer is what you are, and what you are is beautiful. Your light exists in all spaces at once and all I have to do to witness it is open or close my eyes. You will understand what I mean when I say you are every safe shape, every warm color, every gentle hum even as you are vibrance. You are electric for me because you never write just on the page. You never exist just in one space. And I am rambling here? Because what I want to say is fuck it all. You deserve better. Even I have failed you. That’s what I love you for showing me: I can do better.




This letter is a Day 11 of the 30 Day #LinkYourLife Challenge

Shawna Ayoub

Shawna Ayoub is an essayist, fiction writer, poet and instructor with an MFA in creative writing from Indiana University. Some of her work has been published in The Manifest-Station, Role Reboot, [wherever], The Huffington Post, The Oxford Review and Exit 7. Her writing explores the intersections of race, place and survivorship. She writes with honesty about her own experience in order to transform pain.

Discussion about this post

  1. […] to fellow writer Karrie Higgins (whose writing I am also grateful to have discovered this year), “A New Universe Every Day,” at The Honeyed […]

    View Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Stories

Search stories by typing keyword and hit enter to begin searching.

%d bloggers like this: