Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Mystery Wrapped inside an Enigma

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.


  1. I'm glad you found the book useful. I'll bet it's someone from the blueboards ... and I'm glad you wrote about it. What joy for the gifter.

    Actually, it is really fun to be an anonymouse donor. I think I will continue the practice and no, I didn't send you that book. Just for the record.

    1. OOOH, Vijaya. Now I'm looking at you funny... ;)

  2. Wow. That is a mystery, with unlucky timing. I've got to say, the title didn't thrill me either, but it sounds like the content might be useful.

  3. Hmm, interesting that you don't know who sent it. It's good that you are putting it to use now though.

  4. That was a neat little story in itself. I'm glad you are finding it a good resource but I agree, no anonymous gifts is a good policy in this day and age.

  5. Maybe your mystery gifter will come forward eventually, Mirka. This makes a great story, though it would throw me a little "off" too! = )

  6. What a great story! A little disconcerting, but full of mystery.

  7. Wow, what a story. These kind of mysteries can drive you crazy for years.

    1. "These kind of mysteries can drive you crazy for years."
      The jury's still out regarding my sanity, ;) but I have accepted that must live with questions, and many will never be answered directly.

  8. That's strange, though not in the entirely creepy way now since it has come in handy. (I've got to check out if I'm misusing my dialogue ...)