Dear Mister Allegra,
I’m writing to you on account of missing that contest of yours by a day. Sometimes things come up in your life, and sometimes you are a day late.
That last sentence, although written in second person, refers to me.
I’m talking about the contest where someone could go to your blog called heylookawriterfellow and say what pet we wished we could have and why, and then your kid draws all the names from a jar, and whoever wins gets to have a doodle of said pet doodled by you, specifically for them, and they can frame it and hang it on their wall over their desk or in the hallway or on the fridge.
But I was a day late, like I said, so somebody named Sarah won, and I don’t have anything against Sarah, and in fact I don’t know her, but now she gets the doodle I’m pretty sure I would have won, or at least had a chance of winning if you weren’t so picky about deadlines and all.
The pet I would have said was a salamander, and here’s why. As you know from dropping by my blog now and then, I write stories for grown-ups. But for some reason, this guy called Luther asked if I could come and read a children’s poem to some kids at this show he’s putting on with a bunch of actual poets who do write stuff for kids, and probably have some kids of their own, which I don’t, so it’s hard to practice saying a kid’s poem to your dog. And it’s not really fair, because some of them can draw too, but I can’t.
So when I was trying to figure out what I could write that wouldn’t include my usual character lineup of grifters and drifters who swear and such, I went outside to drink some tea on my patio to think about it. There was a salamander hanging out on my patio, which at first I thought was dead but he wasn’t, and we ended up having a pretty good talk. He was a little parched from being stuck on my patio in the sun, but I rescued him and put him in some soft leaves and put water there for him. He had to go home then, but I was thinking it would be nice to have a pet that was a salamander, and I wrote a poem-ish thing in his honor to read to those kids.
Here’s one other thing. My friend Luther is going to use technology to project our poems on the wall while we say them, and if I had won your contest yesterday I could have had him put a picture of my new friend the salamander on the wall, and the kids would like it, and I could tell them that you drew it especially for them and that you also write books and stuff. But now it’s too late, because of one teensy weensy day. A day!
Once in sixth grade I was late and got a zero. The teacher said you shouldn’t complain because it was your fault that you were late and someday you will understand why it’s important to be on time. So I guess this is that time. And I’m happy for Sarah, because she does seem like a very nice person who is a librarian and a mom and also a writer.
Okay, so bye.
Your friend, Laurel
P.S. I’m sorry you hurt your finger.