Dig Deep, Princess!

by jkatejohnston

10 June 2015

Dear Max,

I’m having a terrible time finding the beginning of my fish book. What is the story? Who are the people? Why am I so anxious? Fiction doesn’t come naturally to me. I’m afraid of being boring, and it makes me sound frantic. You know I love writing problems, but this is more of a character problem. Still, it feels like a a problem with a lot of life in it, and that makes my courage rise.

Dig deep, Princess! Or, rather, calm down! You can do it! Or at least there’s a reasonable possibility that you might!

In the meantime, more Enzo notes:

“I can picture Moose in an old-fashioned bi-plane with goggles on.” Moose is one of Enzo’s dog friends—a Labradoodle.


Enzo, heading into the bathroom with a pop-up book about prehistoric sharks: “I may read this while—you know.”


Enzo: “Do you ever feel that life is not worth living?”

Me: “Sometimes. Never for very long.”

Enzo: “I always feel like that.”

Me: “You seem pretty cheerful about it.”

Enzo: “There’s no such thing as peace. Until you die.”


Enzo: “Mom, can we make First Tomato Soup at school?” (I’m in charge of the cooking volunteers next year.)

Me: “We’re not supposed to use the food processor. We’re supposed to do everything by hand.”

Teresa: “How did they make tomato soup in the old days?”

Me: “Maybe a big mortar and pestle.”

Enzo: “Hammers.”


Enzo: “Where did the space-cow land?”

Teresa: “On the mooooon!”

Enzo: “Where did the cow go to drink?”

Teresa and I both think for a while and come up with nothing.

Enzo: “This is a space-cow, so—the Milky Way!” We protest insufficient hints, how were we supposed to know it was the same cow?


Enzo and Teresa were at the table having a snack, and they must have been looking at something on her laptop. Enzo: “This is the life! Chips, salsa, sour cream, doing computery things.”

“What are computery things?”

“Emails…setting up parties…buying antique rifles…”