Do you ever read an entire novel and, years later, remember only one odd detail?
I read Carson McCuller's Reflections in a Golden Eye over summer vacation when I was in seventh grade. All I remember was this line about a corporal who wrote Shirley Temple a letter every day. I was completely interested in that letter. What did he write? What would anyone write to Shirley Temple? I even tried to compose that letter but could not myself that I done a decent job.
I thought of this for some odd reason, now that the post office is in bad shape, now that my mother has passed away, and I no longer have anyone to write letters to.
I love letters. I love writing them. I love how they create an intimate small space. I love poems that are letters, post cards, or even notes left on the refrigerator for loved ones. Even if they are letters written to the world that never writes to me.
Which brings me back to Shirley Temple who, I am sure, never wrote back to the corporal.
Funny to think-- as a girl I barely knew who Shirley Temple was. There were silly quotes I sometimes heard attributed to her, like the one above. And all of those terrible perms we girls got, thanks to her. I remember trying to figure out if it was my hair that smelled or the recently skunked dog.
Nin Andrews is the author of 5 full collections of poetry and 5 chapbooks. She is also the editor of a book of translations of the Belgian poet, Henri Michaux. She keeps a literary blog and a blog of physics comics.