Roller coaster

Child's drawing of a roller coaster

Dear Matthew,

Have you tried the roller coaster yet? Your drawing is dizzily accurate!

I rode on one once with a friend whose parents drove us to the fair. It was a long, winding car ride during the high heat of summer, and I felt car sick even before we arrived. Plus, they fed us a boxed lunch at a roadside picnic along the way. We drank grape juice (it was warm) and an egg salad sandwich (plenty of mayonnaise, also warm). I did not care for either, but I politely tried my best. By the time I got on the roller coaster, I was feeling green.

I did manage to go all the way around before I threw up. To this day, I can’t drink grape juice or eat an egg salad sandwich. Still, whenever I have to write about a character who is not feeling well, I can recall precisely that feeling so as to include accurate details.

Happy reading,

Jessica

Big yellow Sun

Hi Judy,

I selected your letter for this week because of the blindingly hot yellow sun you’ve drawn, which is what it feels like right now in Nova Scotia. I just checked the temperature, and it is 31 degrees Celsius in the room of my house where I write. My window is open but only boiling air blows in.

I’m doing okay, but my puppy looks like she is melting in her fur coat. I give her little sponge baths and that seems to help. She also likes to chomp on ice cubes. I’ve been writing really early in the mornings, when it is cooler, and then finding shade to read a book in the afternoon. Are you doing the same?

Happy reading,

Jessica

Summertime mysteries

Dear Savanna,

I’m so glad to hear that you’ve added my mystery novels to your summer reading list and that you are making good use of the library. Libraries are the best, next to museums and galleries I think. I’m also working through my summer reading list, mostly based on what friends have recommended. I like reading well-written books because I hope that reading them will help to make me a better writer.

Have a great summer and happy reading!

Cheers,

Jessica

Not a prison

Child's drawing of a prison yard with a helicopter overhead.

Dear Mason,

In searching through the letters I’ve received this past year to select my final one to post for 2020, I came across your drawing.

At first, I thought you’d drawn a prison, and I admired your attention to detail. Look at that surveillance helicopter! That razor wire! It reminded me of how I’ve been feeling, so cooped-up in my house these past nine months during the pandemic. Then I read your letter, and it turns out, you hadn’t drawn a prison, but rather the secret military facility known as Area 51. Further, you’d like to visit Area 51 in the hopes of seeing some aliens from outer space, where, as rumour has it, they can be found. So, that’s cool.

Still, I returned to my previous thoughts of feeling like a prisoner, and then I realized that I was being ridiculous. I’m surrounded by all my favourite things, I’ve stayed in touch with close family members and friends, and I have a charming dog that gets me out on daily walks.

I decided to choose your letter for my last post of 2020 anyway. This has been such an unbelievable and difficult year. If it is revealed that there really are aliens held in Area 51, I would no longer be surprised.

Happy reading. Stay safe. Let’s look forward to 2021.

Jessica

Spaceship

Child's drawing of a treehouse shaped like a spaceship

Dear Aarin,

Thank you for your drawing of a tree house. It reminds me of a spaceship, which is what I feel like I’ve been living in during all these weeks of the pandemic. Perhaps “trapped” is a better word.

What I especially like is how you’ve filled your small space with imagination. You’re wearing a wonderful warrior uniform. You’re pals with a multi-colored unicorn. There’s a ghost lurking in the attic. And there seems to be complicated plumbing beneath your feet. What a lovely mix of fantasy, science-fiction, and a how-to manual. Well done, you!

Happy reading,

Jessica

Red bird

Child's drawing of a red bird in the jungle

Dear Danica,

Like you, red is my favorite colour. I especially like red shoes, red wine and red maple leaf flags. I do remember you because you asked a question during my presentation. Pro tip: ask a question at anyone’s presentation and you’ll always be remembered.

I also remember that I told you my favorite bird is a puffin. Is that why you guessed that my favorite colours are black, white and orange? Clever you!

Happy reading,

Jessica