Letters from a Lost Girl #4
Luzern, Monday August 1st 1960
Thank you for your long letter. You appear to be somewhat confused about the person Peter jokingly called Old Man God. His real name was Arthur W. Yong and he lived very modestly over a greengrocer’s in Balham, London. Peter went to visit his flat in his search for me. Yong had nothing to do with what happened to Fi. That was the work of Andrew’s brother. Yong was far too busy trying to get his own back at me. I don’t think he even knew Fi. I suspect he was only interested in his own stories, not those of other people.
You are right, though, I did not like Old Man God. He might have brought me into existence with his writing and later he even gave me a body when I was trapped without one, but he was responsible for the death of thousands of people in Drailong, including my dear father. When Peter gave Old Man God a chance to make amends, the man was unbearably arrogant, thinking he was very clever in being so, and he continued the slaughter. It was him that had me locked away in what he thought would be a horrible place, having first severely handicapped me. But something vital changed for me in that place, something that wasn’t part of Old Man God’s plans. He couldn’t stand that loss of control. I imagine him stamping his feet, furious at the idea that one of his characters could break free and become independent. Maybe he was already crazy, but seeing me cured like that drove him completely over the brink. His demise was terrible, I know, I was there. I still have nightmares about it. So do the girls who were with me. I wouldn’t wish that end on anyone, not even him, but he brought it on himself.
You say you suspect Old Man God of not liking you. How can that be? He never knew you. You live on another continent, at another time. Reading what you write, I wonder if you are not sometimes living partly in a world of your own invention, and partly in the world around you. The two seem to have got a little muddled. I hope you are not upset at my saying so. You did say that as a child you had magicians in your head. What else are storytellers but magicians who conjure up stories. You wrote that it was those magicians that made life bearable for you. Could that still be the case now you are grown up? At least I suppose you are grown up. In a way, you are trying to live the stories that you tell yourself, but as Yong found out, stories have a life of their own. They play tricks on you and can even lead you completely astray, even if it is you that are telling them. Stories are not innocent.
Today is August 1st, a national holiday here. It’s the day when people celebrate the founding of Switzerland. The way Jorg described it, the event sounds quite solemn. I imagine dour people watching on with grave faces as the local officials read out the Pact that was signed between the original cantons of the confederation all those years ago. It’s a sort of yearly reminder of their agreement. Apparently, there is always a giant bonfire in town, but we didn’t go down to Lucern for it. Instead we had our own bonfire here. Jorg built it for us. It was a beautiful evening with a warm breeze and a sparkling starlit sky. Our home is quite high up, and without the lights of the town, the sky is ablaze with stars. While Jorg and a couple of the girls prepared the fire, Peter pointed out some of the constellations. What I like best is the Milky-way. It is like a broad river of stars meandering across the heavens. I’m sure that on a very quiet day, you can hear the whooshing of the starry water as it flows by. When the fire was burning well, we all joined hands and sang together by the flickering of the flames. We had just finished our song for Sister Teresa, the good nun who tried to protect us, when the fireworks down in town burst into the sky casting lurid colours across our little world. It was a wonderful evening.
The Boy & Girl Saga
Boy & Girl – Imagine Peter’s delight when he finds himself in the head of a girl, he who secretly dresses as a girl. Yet, despite his wild hopes, that girl is not him. She’s Kaitlin, the daughter of a mage in a beleaguered world. Peter has his own problems when a new girl at school threatens to reveal his girly ways. Becoming friends, Kate and Peter confront their problems together.
In Search of Lost Girls – In search of Kate, his lost soul-mate, Peter is beset by individuals hell-bent on stopping him dressing as a girl and besmirching the name of all those who befriend him. Meanwhile Kate has been dumped into a girls’ orphanage where, despite constant abuse and mistreatment, she emerges as a decisive figure in the rescue of her fellow orphans.
We Girls – Peter is beset by an existential choice, retain his androgynous ambiguity or say goodbye to his girlish self. Circumstances, however, force both him and Kate to take up other challenges. By straddling the line between child and adult, between carefree creativity and weighty responsibility, between play and work, they find imaginative ways to confront far-reaching problems on which adults persistently turn a blind eye.