(Not) My Writing Desk

Dear M,

I’ve put on Leonard Cohen’s “So Long, Marianne.” Were you familiar with Leonard Cohen? I regret to inform you that he has passed on, like you. I must confess I have a disorder regarding…setting things up. That’s not quite the right wording. I have an obsession with beginning, the very start of things. Genesis. With the order, organization, and—I’m starting to admit to myself—the façade. Appearance. The design, style, outward eye peering in. But isn’t it charming to have “So Long, Marianne” playing while I’m writing to you, Marianne? Oh, I can’t escape it. And recently I was discovered. L said,

“You always set up your idea of a mythic Writer’s Desk—all very impeccable and beautiful—but then continue to only write in bed.”

“You’re wrong on one account,” I told her. “I haven’t been writing at all.”

When I’m not writing at my writing desk, sometimes I draw. Of course they’re you, Marianne.



Melissa L. Amstutz is a writer, musician and bookseller. Her work has appeared in Tin House, Berfrois, Ohio Edit, Queen Mob’s Teahouse and Smartish Pace, and was included in The Wigleaf Top 50 Very Short Fictions of 2019. Her music videos have been featured on Interview, Nylon and Bust. She received her MFA from NYU and resides in Portland, OR with her wife and animals. Her online home is melissalamstutz.com.

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