Is it OK if I call you Maira? Because I love you so. I love Benjamin Franklin’s fur hat, and your paintings of the hole punches and rubber bands and cherry trees, the one with the sea of flags and the one with Herman Melville eating a fried egg.
I love all the desserts and buttons and suitcases, the people driving buses or waiting in hotels, the little boxes tied with string, the church ladies and Russian aristocrats and long-lost great-aunts.
I love Pete, who is temporarily smarter (and eternally wiser) than most of the surrounding humans, and how he makes my son giggle every time we read your book, which makes me giggle and it is just really good all around. And then we take the pop quiz! at the end and get 100%, because we’ve taken it so many times before.
I loved walking around your exhibit at the Jewish Museum, the actual boxes and buttons and New Yorker covers, feeling the way your books make me feel, which is all dreamy and pensive and charged up to pay deep attention to the world, like each thing and person is revealing its own little shimmer around the edges. One review of your work called it “euphoria and melancholy.” It’s what I feel like when I’m writing a poem and it’s going well, or reading one that gives me that sense of touching another consciousness, which is pretty much why I read and write in the first place, so that’s a high complement.
After going to the exhibit, I bought a copy of The Principles of Uncertainty, which I immediately sat down and read cover to cover, and then I met my friend Andrea for sushi and thrust it upon her, insisted she read the thing, and then I went home and ordered another one online for myself.
And that whole day I saw through your eyes: the chopsticks, the little bottle of soy sauce, Andrea’s truly dazzling smile, her fuzzy blue coat. And the twilit sky on 18th Street above the stoplight, which made me want to design a dress in its colors.
Thank you so much.