The Book I Will Write #9

The Book I Will Write by John Henry Fleming is a serial novel-in-emails about a would-be writer named John Henry Fleming who is desperate to publish a book. THE BOOK I WILL WRITE is a work in progress; readers are invited to make comments and influence the outcome. Fleming has begun exchanging emails with an editorial assistant at Knopf, Mary Ann Lankowski, under the nose of her boss, Senior Editor Roberta Hollymore.





Dear John Henry,

I apparently read your email late last night, and I apparently wrote a reply, which I apparently either forgot to send or kept open on purpose. I’ve been known to get struck by random bolts of good judgment when I’m drunk. Whew.

I said things to you I never thought I’d say to anyone. I don’t even know where all those pent-up feelings came from. Apparently, they’re there. Apparently, they want to attach themselves to you. Anyway, the email I wrote made me cringe so badly, I deleted it in horror without even reading the whole thing.

I was going to play it safe and not reply at all. I was going to delete whatever follow-up emails you planned to send. But, look, here I am at work and Ms. Hollymore hasn’t even arrived yet (she’s been known to drink, too, usually without the benefit of those random bolts of good judgment), and I made the mistake of reading your last email again and it worries me a little, all this talk of drowning and thanking me always.

You’re not considering offing yourself, are you? I don’t want to be responsible for that. I know I wouldn’t really be responsible, but the thought would occur to me, and I don’t even want the thought to occur to me. That sounds more selfish than I meant it.

I hope your novel is going well. I hope you write a lot of good pages. I hope you’ll publish it someday, too.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but would you write back just so I know you’re okay?



One response to “The Book I Will Write #9”

  1. Funny, touching, and it even made me cringe a little (the best fiction always does).