The pretty good books of Susan Larson

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A Dear John Email to my Body on the Occasion of its 70th Birthday



Yo, Body!


I apologize in advance if you possibly get upset that I’m telling you this by e-mail, but my shrink says that meeting you face to face would be just too traumatic for me.


I can’t live here any more. I’ve done a lot of thinking and I decided it would be best if I moved out.


Now don’t get all bent out of shape, ha ha. Let’s just focus for a moment on all fun have we used to have!  The singing, the dancing, the running and jumping and skiing and riding horses and bikes. And the eating and drinking, the loving; the laughing and sweating and playing and working! Good times, good times!


But lately you have not been a fun body for me.  So many times I’ve wanted to take you off and hang you up in the attic next to that grungy old North Face down parka I wore in the 60’s. Because, let’s face it, you are really, really, past your Use-By.


You snore. Your knees creak. You’ve got purple veins on your legs and brown spots on your hands and you have flappy things on your upper arms and a potbelly. You’re a real turn-off, you know that?  


If you’re upset I’m sorry, but I am so not ready to deal with all your problems. I have my needs. I have my wants. Here’s what I  want: a new body. A trophy body.  One that looks good in a bikini. A body who understands all my needs and is capable of fulfilling them. I want more good times; sorry, but is that so terribly wrong?


I’m still young.


 Sorry if you’re taking this the wrong way.  Honestly. It’s not me, it’s you.



And, speaking of you, isn’t this breakup really better for you too? We have already drifted apart over the years, so why not make if official?  Different paths and yada yada yada.  Sorry if this offends you.


Have a Nice Day








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The World of “Sam (a pastoral)”


Four little country Hollows. They seemed like an endless universe for a couple of runaway kids– and their tireless, rampageous doublewide trash horse– to range around in.   What is so memorable bout those hollows?   


Farms. Woods. Freedom. Ancient trails that led somewhere or nowhere. Neighbors who liked to see us when we paid calls on horseback. Some creepy secrets. Everything we needed to find our hero selves.


There is something magic about your view of the world from a horse’s back. Your head floats a little higher off the ground and you feel a bit lordly. You can look all around you too,  because you aren’t the only one watching the road.


 Deer and other critters gaze mildly at that big centaur coming their way, and they don’t skedaddle unless you talk.  The world of nature enfolds you, and you start to be an animal for a blessed while.


You dare to turn onto those strange and alluring trails that you stumble across, even if the sun is sinking. One of you, if not both of you, always knows the way home, even in the dark.


Going back to my neighborhood as an adult, I see how tiny it really was.  Of course it has changed a lot. Much of the land is now posted.  Old houses are torn down and modern ones are built. Kids ride Quads or snowmobiles now, and the wild critters run when they hear them. But some of my neighbors have stayed on. We talk about the old days, the old places, the mighty deeds, the mighty steeds now all of them gone to their long homes. 


I have travelled the world. I still remember my little magic corner of it, and how it was when I claimed it as mine. I’m really glad I wrote it all down in “Sam.”