Back in October I saw a call for submissions to an online journal called Unshod Quills. They had not one but several themes for this issue: Love, Coffee, David Bowie, Joan of Arc, Enough Rope, Childhood, and Dancing About Architecture.
I started thinking about ideas for a Bowie-inspired piece — I mean, all those themes have great possibilities, but there was no question in my mind which one I wanted to tackle. I kept thinking about listening to CHANGESONEBOWIE in the early ’80s. It seemed like everyone had that record in 8th grade … a time and place that I’d been thinking about using for a fiction setting. Some characters and storylines were already rolling around in my mind, and in one of those lightning-flash moments — perhaps in this case a flash of painted-over-one-eye lightning — everything merged into an idea for a letter written in 1981 by an 8th-grade girl while listening to that album. It ended up being one of my favorite things I’ve written in a long time.
I was thrilled when the Unshod Quill folks liked it too! The issue went live in December with my piece: Dear Rosie AKA Ro-Ho-Zee AKA Rosarita Refried Beans.
October 12, 1981
Dear Rosie AKA Ro-Ho-Zee AKA Rosarita Refried Beans,
HI! Sorry your new school is so bunk. You aren’t missing much here, everything is pretty much the same except that Erica got a perm and so did Leslie Stang. I have Ms. Stanford for History AGAIN!!! I thought I left her ugly face behind in 7th grade but I guess she teaches 8th too. My English teacher seems pretty cool. Everything else is just blah.
Hold on I am going to put on a record, wait isn’t it funny that I just wrote “hold on” when you haven’t even gotten this letter yet? DUMB! I bought “CHANGESONEBOWIE” at Pellucidar and it’s hella raw. I am going to write you while the songs are playing and that way it will be like we are listening together!
Click over to read the rest, and to see my amazing (if I do say so myself) 1982 school picture. And then be sure to keep on clickin’ … there’s a whole bunch of goodness there, Bowie-inflected and otherwise. Though I think it’s distinctly possible that, via some kind of metaphysical time-and-space oddity, his hand drifted over and threw magical glitter dust over the whole shebang.