Dear Vidya,

As Hannibal took Tuscany with his elephants, so you too conquered the literary world with your pen. I considered you a possible literary uncle, if not a father; later a suffete; perhaps a general; later a strategist. For a young person with ambitions of writing, you loomed.

As such, I wanted to submit to you the first paragraph of the first book I ever wrote and see if you could help me understand whether in the dusty clouds surrounding my birth those in attendance were happy that the patrimony of my family would continue through its second male or its second female. In my scriptorium, I continue to ask this question myself, and think your eye might pierce the clouds that have lingered, knowing full well that a person of your strength will not resort to Google.

“God got this much right.

For weeks the water and air shared the same lustrous darkness, clouds making up a mackerel sky. Only rounding the Cape did the wind tear off the haze for a spell. The ship’s captain called the weather bad. Unseasonable. But no one could say Henry was blind to possibility. This voyage, his little assault on history, might turbine him into a wrathful chamber he’d be lucky to exit. Because the beauty of land had disappeared.”

You, too, sir, remain that cloud of ambiguity for me: does the steel of your resolve temper the glass of your self-awareness? Or would it be the other way around? We have no Scipio Africanus whose reckoning can be conclusive. Therefore, I write this toward the alchemy of your insight.

With respect,

Edification Desired

 

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