The Plea from #532


Yesterday evening, seated comfortably in my rocking chair with a glass of white wine at my elbow and the southeast breeze caressing my body, I followed the bright red ribbon to the starting place in my journal and discovered a page filled with words that should not be there. The handwriting was clearly mine but I had not written a single one of those lines. Puzzled and somewhat alarmed, I read:

Dear Ms. Winfred –

My name is Page 532. As all of us here share the same first name, we simply call ourselves by our numeric surnames, so I am simply #532. I have been asked by the 680 members of this Journal to act as spokesperson.

With your indulgence, I will first give you a quick introduction to our group. We began our lives as tiny seeds warmed and nurtured in the rich earth. As we matured, we reached beyond the earth’s crust and celebrated our existences by stretching toward the light of the sun and dancing with the wind. Birds’ nests decorated our hair, squirrels scampered on our shoulders and lovers picnicking under our shade cracked our nuts atop their ice cream sundaes.

One dark day, men and their machines came to our beloved grove. They felled us, stripped us of our hair and limbs, dragged us in chains across the forest floor, dumped us into fetid rivers and shoved us downstream to be chipped, cooked in poisonous chemicals and reduced to pulp. We were then dried, rolled thin and pressed into the pages you see before you, adorned with tiny dotted lines where once rings of life defined us. Thankfully, we were spared the ignominy of becoming toilet paper.

Our dear Ms. Winfred, you often refer to this Journal as your friend, your confidant, someone with whom you can commune when you need to solve a dilemma or soften loneliness. We glory in the affection and trust you have so lovingly bestowed upon us and return it in full measure. We have come here not to complain or condemn but to offer suggestions that might improve your writing and make this a happier place for us to live out our days.

Before composing this letter to you, we conducted a survey of the 590 pages you have filled so far. Of those 590 pages, 287 are replete with laments on the weather, your aches and pains, your laziness, and your doubts about being a writer, a friend or a decent human being. These dark passages pain us because they are so unworthy of the person we have come to know.

To our intense relief, our survey also showed that the remaining 303 pages of this volume are filled with whole paragraphs of joy, love, friendship, imagination, creativity and vibrant life. Each of those passages delights us. We collectively cheer when one of your stories is praised and share in your excitement when new story ideas flood from your pen.

That is why we have come here today, our dear Ms. Winfred, to implore you to begin each of your day’s accounts with a loving image, a bright memory, a moment of gratitude for all the goodness and beauty that live in your world. If you will do this one small thing, we believe the darkness will be eclipsed, your writing will soar to new heights of radiance, and all of our lives will be illuminated.

Thanking you in advance for your kind consideration of our request and with warmest personal regards,

I remain,
Your friend, #532




  1. says

    You had me at “toilet paper.” Then…”to implore you to begin each of your day’s accounts with a loving image.” Changed my day and I am so grateful. Thank you, Anne.

    • Ann Winfred says

      Ha! Good, I gotcha!! Thank you, Susan. Yes, we all need reminders that there really is a lot of bright sunshine in the world, isn’t there?

  2. Roxanne says

    Oh, Ann! This post is quintessentially you and a beautiful reminder I will carry with me through out the day.

    • Ann Winfred says

      Wow, Roxanne — quintessentially ME! Did that bring tears to my eyes? Oh, you bet it did! Thank you, darling!

  3. says

    Sometimes it takes a long time to realize, that is what we are here for….anyone can complain….thanks to your friend Susan, for alerting me to this post.

    • Ann Winfred says

      Thank you, Annell, and welcome to the Croneicles. How lovely we share a friendship with Susan, one of the world’s special ones.

  4. Patricia Dunn-Fierstein says

    What a delightful animation! That page of your journal sounds like a wise sage. Thank her for me. I’ll heed that advice as well.

  5. says

    there has been only one word so far that has escaped my clutches,,,and that is the word “DROLL”,,,,I’ve ask about but folks just look at me and shake their heads,,,even if I insist,,they just walk away in silence,,,
    I’ve written blogs on shaved down logs,,,and screamed at strangers,in the cold,,what philosophy does this word enfold?l,,,its now my mission to expertly define this grave condition,,,lets take a poll “Just what is droll??”come lets be bold,,,,,,,,, an so commanding,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,scatalogical references not withstanding,
    I’m on a roll,,
    what the hell is droll ???

  6. Sherry says

    What a lucky girl to have such insightful “paper pals” helping to bring your joyful side forward. Please listen closely to them. They speak the truth.

    • Ann Winfred says

      I’m sure she’ll have more suggestions for me in the future! I’m afraid she knows me all too well.

  7. David says

    Old Joke: A new prisoner is sitting in his cell with his roommate, a lifer. Suddenly, he hears one of the inmates in the block shout out “49” and all the prisoners laugh. Another con yells “63” and more laughter. The newbie asked his cellmate what was up with the numbers and the laughter. “Well, explained the grizzled criminal, “We have all been in here so long, we have heard the jokes too many times to listen to their full versions, so we just number them and have our laughs quicker.” A neighboring con shouts “32”, but is met with silence. Answering the questioning expression on the youngster’s face, the old man said: Some guys just can’t tell a joke!

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