Dear Friends (who are saved from a life as Fiends by a simple single letter),

The following is a real letter from a friend, and my reply, with the names changed on a lark because there is no privacy anymore. It’s fun with language, the Italian is cribbed and stuffed somewhat out of grammatical (but well within emotional) context. I try to perform exercises and other tricks like this when possible as in-between-meal snacks and to avoid tasks assigned by my masters.

Dear Friend to the Reader,

In my search for the sumptuous, I recently ran across the word “thaumaturgy” and wondered if it was a real word. My poor dictionary is elusive on the matter. This is not acceptable.


Sybaritic but Salient

Dearest Syb,

“Thaumaturgy” is elusive in all but the rarest prose, where it appears every other paragraph and sometimes twice in the same sentence (illusively masquerading as a different word, phoneme, or even punctuation–especially the long dash). Seeing the word itself is a distraction, meant to take your eyes from the mechanic pulling levers from inside the book spine and the assistant crawling down out of the folded box through a hole in the floor of the page. You’ll never see the writer on stage slip the ace from her sleeve and transform it into a bouquet of flowers and then a plate of figs till they’re on the table in front of you and you say, Oh my!, and oh! perdere il ben dell’intelletto! But in such a delicious state, you feel like the mission fig and like the mouth watering to bite into it, and the writer is prodding you on with a twinkle in her eye, and you, the mark, are helpless but to obey. So you bite, and can never, ever go back to who you were before the velvet curtains parted.

There is a fable that thaumaturgy exists, that I myself have seen this miracle, but in the act was outdone, and now wait my turn in the shadows.