Years ago, when I first began writing with the hope to eventually get published, but had yet to tell anyone about it, a package arrived in the mail.
It was addressed to me, and had no return address. The package was posted after that fateful September 11th 2001, and after the postal service announced it will no longer accept packages without a clear return address. It must have slipped by, because it had no return address.
I didn't have a bomb-sniffing dog, or any dog for that matter. I stared at it for only ten seconds. My curiosity and love of mystery-presents got the better of me. I tore the brown wrapper open.
Inside was a bomb. Not the kind that explodes and shreds the receiver to bits, but it might as well have been. It was a book.
“SHUT UP!” the title said.
The subtitle was A Writer’s Guide to the Uses and Misuses of Dialogue.
Who sent it? I examined the book. It was a used hardcover. I examined the postal stamp- it had been mailed from a small town in Iowa. I don’t know anyone in Iowa. Never have.
Who knew I was writing? And writing fiction? And using or misusing dialogue? Not even DH.
I tried asking loved ones near and far who might have thought to send me an anonymous gift. Or was it an insult? To this day I don’t know.
I got a resounding round of denials.
“Nope, I didn't send you anything, nor had asked anyone else send you anything. And what was it anyway?”
I found the title offensive enough that I buried the book somewhere and forgot about it. I also made a mental note never to send gifts anonymously, even if the titles spoke softly of appreciation. It was just too disturbing.
The other day, while plowing through my books and making what could be called some semblance of order, this mystery present surfaced again.
And just in time. I’m deep in using and abusing dialogue in my WIP.
Will the old Gifter stand up? I don’t expect them to. It wouldn't be much of a story if they do. I’ll chuck it to Ms. Universe.
So thank you. And I’d still hope you don’t send anonymous packages, everyone.