Flash Fiction: Letters - BlueAnteater.com

Flash Fiction: Letters

“Letter writing can be seen as a gift because someone has taken his/her time to write and think and express love.”
— Soraya Diase Coffelt

Dear Mr Shore,

I saw your painting at a museum today. I went with my classmates. It was a big museum and your painting was inside of it. I am writing to you because I really liked your painting. I thought it was a picture at first like how you take with a camera but my teacher said it was real paints. I thought that was really cool and your painting was the best one in all the museum. I got a poster of it in the gift shop because I liked it. So thank you for painting it.

From Jamie

*****

Dear Mr Shore,

My mom also liked your painting. She was very happy that I liked it so much. We got a frame for it and now it is hanging in my bedroom. I think I want to learn to paint like you. But I will need to get a dog.

From Jamie

*****

Dear Mr Shore,

We are not getting a dog.

From Jamie

*****

Dear Mr Shore,

My mom says that I don’t need a dog to paint a painting like you. She said I can paint anything I want and I don’t have to copy what you did. You are my “inspiration.” <— Mom spelled this for me.

So I can paint a different animal? Please write back.

From Jamie

*****

Dear Mr Shore,

I have decided to paint a picture of our neighbor’s cat. She does nothing but lay out in the grass all day so it is easy to draw her because she does not move.

I am not so good at drawing but my dad says you have to draw an outline before you paint it. I hope he is right because I do not see an outline in your painting.

From Jamie

*****

Dear Mr Shore,

My cat drawing is all wiggly and does not look like our neighbor’s cat. I was very sad and wanted to throw the paper away but my mom said that learning to draw takes lots and lots of practice.

How many minutes did you practice before you got good?

From Jamie

*****

Dear Mr Shore,

My drawing is still not good but I am learning to “roll with the punches.” <— Dad said this. If I draw everyday, I will get better and better. And maybe one day my paintings will be in a museum.

From Jamie

*****

Dear Mr Shore,

My cat painting is all done. It does not look like the neighbor’s cat and it really does not look like your painting — because it is a cat not a dog — but I am happy because it is my first painting. My grandma bought me the paints and I am being careful with them. I think I will practice more drawing before more painting.

From Jamie

*****

Dear Mr Shore,

I want to send you my cat painting but my mom wants to keep it and put it on the wall next to your painting. I am not sure about this because it really does not look good next to yours. But my dad said everybody has to start somewhere — I think this is “inspiration” again.

My mom also said that she is running out of stamps for my letters to you. So this is my last letter until we get more.

From Jamie

P.S. <— This means extra words.
How come you do not have an email?

*****

Dear Mr Shore,

I highly doubt you remember me, but I wrote a handful of letters to you when I was ten years old. I had just seen your “Dream It” painting at the Modern Museum of Art, and (though I’m sure you’re sick of hearing this) it really spoke to me on a deep level. As I stated in my letters, I began drawing and painting pictures of my own. I still have my first painting of a cat.

In any case, the reason I am writing to you again is because one of my own paintings is to be featured in the very same Modern Museum of Art, where my artistic journey began. Even though you did not reply to my letters, I thought I would write once again to let you know how much of an inspiration you were to me and how much your painting changed my life — in a good way! I can’t imagine doing anything but what I’m doing now, and I’m so happy to share my creations with others. Who knows? Maybe there’s another little Jamie out there who will be as touched by my paintings as I was by yours.

Thank you, Mr Shore, for everything.

From Jamie


Though it’s been years since I’ve read the book, there’s an intentional Dear Mr Henshaw vibe for this story, though I obviously twisted it at the end with, what if the author never wrote back? Of course, this is very short and I am not as clever a writer as Beverly Clearly. Also, this is partially inspired by true life, as I went to the Getty when I was in junior high or so, and I became absolutely enamored with Jan Van Huysum’s Fruit Piece — the idea of something so beautiful being covered in bugs was incredibly and wonderfully realistic (anyone who gets ants in their house during the summer knows this feel), and I just stared at that painting for so long (and also got yelled at by the security guard because I kept pointing at and almost touching it). I got a poster version in the gift shop, and it’s hanging on my bedroom wall right now. Of course, I was not inspired to draw or paint or anything, but I still think it’s a stunning piece of art and appreciate it on that base level.

The prompt came from Yeah Write, which is doing a year-long short story challenge for 2016! I’m a bit late to the party, so this is Week 12’s prompt. You can read all about the challenge HERE!

“letters never sent” by Tnarik Innael is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

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