January 20, 2006


Sometimes, I find a writer that writes such spooky, pretty stories that I want to call my friend Amy Hayes and show her too. It's been a few years since Amy died, and I still Google her name every once in awhile, just checking if she has mysteriously transubstantiated on the Internet. Because if anybody can mysteriously transubstantiate on the Internet, Amy can.

So today, I found "The Faery Handbag" by Kelly Link, from her brand new book, Magic For Beginners. I bought Stranger Than Fiction, a couple years ago, and now you can download the whole thing for free, god bless it. After I read this part, all I wanted to do was call up Amy and share. As long as somebody like Kelly Link is still writing, it feels like Amy is still reading...

Zofia never looked like a grandmother. She had long black hair which she wore up in little, braided, spiky towers and plaits. She had large blue eyes. She was taller than my father. She looked like a spy or ballerina or a lady pirate or a rock star. She acted like one too. For example, she never drove anywhere. She rode a bike. It drove my mother crazy. "Why can't you act your age?" she'd say, and Zofia would just laugh.

Zofia and I played Scrabble all the time. Zofia always won, even though her English wasn't all that great, because we'd decided that she was allowed to use Baldeziwurleki vocabulary. Baldeziwurlekistan is where Zofia was born, over two hundred years ago. That's what Zofia said. (My grandmother claimed to be over two hundred years old. Or maybe even older. Sometimes she claimed that she'd even met Ghenghis Khan. He was much shorter than her. I probably don't have time to tell that story.) Baldeziwurlekistan is also an incredibly valuable word in Scrabble points, even though it doesn't exactly fit on the board. Zofia put it down the first time we played. I was feeling pretty good because I'd gotten forty-one points for "zippery" on my turn.

Zofia kept rearranging her letters on her tray. Then she looked over at me, as if daring me to stop her, and put down "eziwurlekistan", after "bald." She used "delicious," "zippery," "wishes," "kismet", and "needle," and made "to" into "toe". "Baldeziwurlekistan" went all the way across the board and then trailed off down the righthand side.

I started laughing.

"I used up all my letters," Zofia said. She licked her pencil and started adding up points.

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