Spewing a Backstory

During a recent evening spent viewing the internet stream-of-consciousness style, I landed on a website for a Chinese-run business— a frame shop.  I spied a print of a painting rendered by an artist, Gustave Caillebotte.  Something about it intrigued me, compelling me to draft a little backstory to accompany the image.  I plead  a picture is worth a thousand words as my only excuse for a muse,  though I didn’t meet 1000 words by a long shot.  If this post proves anything, it’s that writers are often carelessly permitted to roam about without keepers.


January 22, 1913

Dear Zelma,

In your previous letter, you brought up the subject of Cousin Rowena.  I only know she secretly wed a Scandinavian Egyptologist in September of 1912.  On the third morning after the wedding, she brazenly scorched 17 marshmallows while masquerading an attempt to make breakfast toast. Her new husband tossed his table napkin into the fireplace with disgust and vacated the acrid apartment.  The following morning she received, by special messenger, a formal Proclamation of Annulment.  That’s the last news I’ve had of her doings. It’s a disgraceful turn of events, to say the least!

I am still on the horns of a dilemma: should I discretely publish her last known address in next Tuesday’s Personals column in the Times?  Uncle Trent would well approve of my action, but unsure of the rest of the kin’s reaction. I so hate that Rowena has put me into this unsavory position. She is the pariah, and rightly should own up to it, sending personal telegrams to each and all of them– even to Grandmother’s half-sister, Adelaide.

If only you’d inquired of dear Adelaide, rather than Rowena, I wouldn’t have been reminded of this unfortunate chain of events and thus be forced to retire to my divan with a renewed case of the Jumpsie-Wumpsies.  I’ve had to call Louisa back from her day off just to pour tea and watch over me.  Need I say more?




Painting by Gustave Caillebotte