Dear son of a bitch,
I realize this open letter may come as a surprise to you, not least because I open it by referring to you as a "son of a bitch". I'm sure that, in your own mind, you not only did nothing wrong, but were, in fact, a pretty good guy throughout. This is one of the reasons I hate you.
Please believe me, I could have used any one of a number of much, much stronger sobriquets, but "son of a bitch" will do. Anyway, my point in writing this is not to vilify you, but to thank you. That, I know, would come as no surprise to you, since you will gladly take credit for any good thing, whether you had any hand in it or not. The fact that you have no idea what I'm talking about wouldn't deter you in the least from patting me on the shoulder in that condescending way and telling me that you are happy to share your insights and wisdom.
You son of a bitch, I'm not going to get angry at you all over again, because I have (mostly) moved past that. No, I want to thank you for helping me to be a writer.
It was you, you rotten son of a bitch, that made me use my writing for more than the sloppy, emo private journal spew it had been up to that point. I'm not sure of the exact alchemy that caused my inchoate scribbling impulse to crystallize into a focus on plot and character, dialogue and scene-setting, but you were in the thick of it.
In the same way that a really ferocious intestinal parasite infection can be the goad to a lifetime of healthy eating, with all the golden benefits of health and happiness that arise therefrom, I have you to thank, you son of a bitch, for forcing me to think that I could express myself through my art.
"Express myself through my art"... such a phrase would have seemed ludicrous coming from my pen, utterly inapplicable to my life before you worked your hideous, poisonous magic. Seeking to destroy me, you inadvertently created in me more joy and beauty than you could possibly know.
Please don't misunderstand. I still hope you choke on a chicken bone, preferably right in front of me in a crowed restaurant, so I can pretend to everyone that I don't know the Heimlich maneuver. With luck, the jagged edge of the bone won't kill you, but it will rip apart your trachea and prevent you from speaking ever again. How drained of venom and strength your words will be if they must be written, instead of dripped in the ears of the unsuspecting!
But still, such things are too much to hope for. You will go on doing what you do, and I? I will now go forward to do what I do, with a heart light and happy.
So thank you, you damned son of a bitch. You tried to derail me, and instead put me on a different track, the line that leads through Wonderland.
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