Let them in, let us out: an Exhibition of Letters

Exhibit One

Dear Oulipa,

They have told me that should I ever feel sad, I should write here. I must preface by saying that instead of being forced to come by plane, I came voluntarily. I knew that none of the modern comforts of cellphones and computers are permitted here except the comforts of electric machines that eased our daily life for more meaningful pursuits, such as letter-writing. I am not seeking a pen pal, but just the solution to my problems. I understand that “psychiatry” and “therapist” should be nonexistent concepts here, so I just want to ask you for a simple - a simple way to solve it all, without changing who I am.

I took my daughter here with me. I wanted to say that I have edges. I was born as a triangle but before that, I was just a dot lying on the one-dimensional plane. Me and my husband, we taught at universities around the world as adjuncts, never good enough for anything permanent, never settling either. Then I left him for a career in floristry and I took my daughter because she likes flowers. He killed himself.

I took my daughter here because I don’t want her to addicted to a cellphone. Now she is nineteen and begging to be let out of the house and she calls herself a lesbian. I want a way that makes both of us happy. If there is any other young person here, I beg you to connect them two and make it so that my daughter Engg can be friend with them. Right now all she has is me and the cows and ducks.

Please write back.

Yours earnestly,
[Identity obstructed to protect the sender’s privacy]

Dear earnestly,

I shall keep your trust and keep you anonymous, though I imagine that was an accident. Everyone has might one day seek out our correspondence knows who Engg is. She is very beautiful. Congratulations.

I wish your missive has been in a constraint that I could recognise. Apart from sadness, which is a very open constraint nowadays.

Yes therapy doesn’t work, as such, and we’ve known that from the beginning. But still, nice to have someone to write to, isn’t it. No charge for this reply. Professional courtesy.

I’m sorry to hear of your husband. You are only partly to blame. It was his life. Say no more.

In terms of quick fixes, I suppose you know the answer is about whether or not you realise Engg is that she is quite old now and maybe you should her out to be a lesbian and see how horrific phones are for herself. Because she’ll very likely come back because it’s so expensive to rent, especially if you have a low paying job because you’re a young person who doesn’t know how cellphones work. I’m teasing, but you see the truth of my ‘quick fix’ advice. She’ll come back and then you can hold that above her, remind her, it’s your home and she chose to live with you.

What happened to your husband won’t happen to you. Statistically, as a woman, you are far more likely to just be lonely.

Have you considered attempting new things? Hobbies? Love? I mean I have jumped ahead.

You could also go into therapy.

Yours sincerely,

Exhibit Two

Dear Oulipa,

My name is [redacted] and I am a ventriloquist. I come from a tiny village in wherever no is important. I learn English from a book and now I are here I spell well. Now outside no one like ventriloqui here everybody look to me for happy and laugh. I am content at here.

But problem is that I look out my window always. I see young pastor passing by every day. He whistle well. I think famous classic song. So I imitate whistle but I cant. I am become obsessed because young pastor has voice very sharp and deep at once, is impossible ventriloguism. When he touch me in church my shoulder burns.

Please advice how to turn. Cannot sleep.

Thank you,

Dear Redaction,

You sound like a fine dinosaur. Dilophosaurus. Brontodaction. I’m happy to be stuck with you, like the Huey Lewis song.

I was, and this is true (synchronicity?) thinking about ventriloquism today. I have tried it https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgVWCDBvCCo. As you can see, I’m not naturally gifted.

Will you teach me how? I can’t throw my voice.

Sounds nice where you are, but young pastor’s are tempting. That is what they do! The touching might just be inflaming an old injury. Have you popped your shoulder?

Ah, sleeping. I too have had this problem. I would recommend routine, sleep hygiene and something called zolpidem.

No, thank you