My new favourite word is neo-epistolary. I heard it first from Sam. He didn’t coin it, but he might as well have. There are six hits on Google. This is my kind of word. This is my kind of work.
The first novels, before we were really calling them novels, were epistolaries, collections of letters to create a narrative. They fell out of favour, but we kind find their influence in blogs today. Collections of letters, yes, but also photographs, notes, candy bar wrappers, album covers, credit card bills, and doodles on napkins. All of this makes up the narrative of a life and might one day be a book. Might one day be my book.
I used to call my style vignette. Because what I like to do is make small parts, then fit those small parts into something bigger. The part of the process I love is finding the connections, seeing the tongues and grooves, and that brilliant feeling when something just fits.
There’s a box sitting on my shelf with a label that reads billet-doux, love letters. It’s where I keep ephemera, not love letters in the conventional sense, but the pieces of my world I love, or someone loved enough to send to me. They’re the kinds of small parts I want to fit together into a story. That box is full.