Editor's note: Garrulous MacKenzie writes in his files, "I have no idea why Mo Willems never responded to my letter. I thought we had a real connection." Perhaps you, the Reader, can deduce the cause. This edition of Children's Book That Never Were is dedicated to MotherReader for obvious reasons.
Dear Mr. Willems,
I was tempted to begin the letter, “Yo Mo!” but I deemed it most undignified. At any rate, let me start out by telling you what a fan I am of your previous work. Picasso once said, “Cézanne would never have interested me a bit if he had lived and thought like Jacques Emile Blanche, even if the apple he painted had been ten times as beautiful. What forces our interest is Cézanne's anxiety - that's Cézanne's lesson.”
Cezanne had his apples, you have your Pigeon. It’s not that the Pigeon is cute or persistent, but that the Pigeon conveys anxiety that is simultaneously personal and universal. The Pigeon aches and longs for that which is unfathomable (the Germans call this Sehnsucht) and those desires can only be remotely touched upon by the concrete—what is a hotdog or a bus but the unbearable void of Being itself?
I understand that you have a contest going to see if people can surmise the Pigeon’s latest desire. I’m sure you have received an abundance of hypotheses, with everything from the sublime (“The Pigeon Wants Enlightenment”) to the mundane (“The Pigeon Wants a Puppy”). I feel privileged to have received the true manuscript, “The Pigeon Wants Pierced Ears.” I presume that this theme was inspired by your daughter and her preadolescent clamoring to adorn her earlobes with hypoallergenic hearts and unicorns in an attempt to comply with the conformist tendencies of her peers. Leaving aside the fact that pigeons themselves do not have earlobes, I do have a few questions for you to ponder as you delve into the revisions:
1) What will the Pigeon do to keep the newly pierced ears free from infection? Grownups buying this book for their children will want to see evidence of readiness for such a heady responsibility.
2) Isn't it possible that the Pigeon screaming, “I can’t stop the blood!!!!!!!!!” is a bit too much for the under-five set?
3) Does the Pigeon’s desire for pierced ears have anything to do with wanting to experience self-inflicted pain due to survivor’s guilt as he contemplates the extinction of his Passenger cousins?
4) Chadwick Q. Fraswell III, my editorial assistant, asked me to ask you, "Do you by any chance have a sister, and does she date editors?"
Sharper & Crow