Dear friend,

It is I, Francois. Please don’t read any of my novel until you hear of the inspiration.

Her name is Joella and she is divine. Every inch of her a feast, every look a thrill, every moment a celebration. You will meet her soon. Hopefully my book will pay me enough money for a proper bath and shave as well as a new wardrobe. I”m afraid this old coat and pant has seen better days. I must look no less than resplendent for Joella.

My hunger pains have subsided enough that I am now able to sit erect without vomiting. I am constantly urinating again though, worse than ever, which makes consummating with Joella problematic, but it’s the only way I can survive on snowmelt alone.

Food is forgotten to me. Lost are meats. Only a distant memory are soups. Fruits and vegetables no more than a dream. Breads and pastries an unknowable mystery.

Old man winter has me in his bitter grasp. The wind howls outside my door. I can hear it clearly now that my stomach has ceased its shouting.

You have reached a breakthrough in your technique dear boy, haven’t you? The reviews are in from Paris and word is you knocked them dead with your latest papier-mâché  exhibition. Imagine seeing the dinosaurs in all their 1/12th scale glory! The heart throbs in anticipation.

Congratulations old friend! Now you can finally go back to real food and stop boiling dirt for nutrients. And your paintings! I love the new direction in your palette. How did you afford such bold new colors? Did you sell your other foot? Paint can be so expensive. It makes me glad I’m a writer. Ink is much cheaper than paint, and there’s always my own blood. That’s free at least!

My writing handhas frzon uosopl eas xcust his orat….srry. now i’ve got it. i will have to use my other
I have warmed my bluing skin enough to regain use of my writing hand. While plunging it into the fire was probably not the best option it at least cured my peeing.

It is now very very cold with wind blowing through the cracks in the floor. The rats have deserted me, after I burned no more than forty or fifty. They provide a fragrant heat, but it’s a shortlived one. What was it your mother used to say? “Rat meat makes for sweet fast heat.” I have to write as fast as I can because I’m burning paper now that the furniture is all gone, along with the front door, and the floorboards. There’s still the roof though.

I must sell some of my book or I fear I will freeze to death. Have I made a mistake with the story? Can it be that no one wants to read about paraplegic children with terminally ill parents after all? I need to sell at least 1000 copies or my publisher will take my facial hair. All of it, including my nostril hair but not my ear hair, I drew the line at ear hair. That’s not part of the face; that’s your ears, I said. He knew I was right.

Until we meet again.

Your friend in hunger and cold,