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A case of mistaken email identity

by Felicia Cameron Leger

I was sitting at the keyboard today, battling a case of Blinking Cursor Syndrome, when I decided to take a break and check my email. I hadn’t checked it in over forty-five seconds and, well, you know – there might have been some holiday retailer out there who desperately needed my business.

I clicked over to my inbox and discovered a personal email (yes!) from my grandmother. The only problem was I don’t have any living grandparents left. The message was clearly intended for someone else, and had landed in my inbox by way of a typo.

Feeling slightly guilty, I read it anyway. There was nothing extraordinary about it, just a simple note from a grandmother to her granddaughter, sharing the details of her week. It was the kind of message that would once have taken the form of pen and paper, dressed with a stamp and handed to the postman. It would have ended up in a mailbox among the bills and supermarket flyers, a single envelope that would be the highlight of someone’s day.

Grandmothers have a gift for writing letters like that. Be they in email or paper form, they bring us back to the days of homemade kitchen smells and cheek-pinching, of generous laps and sipping cocoa by the fire. They are full of details that only a grandmother would think to include, the Our Town kinds of things that feel ordinary at the time, but become precious with the passing of years.

Well I couldn’t just delete it, so I sent a quick reply informing the woman of her mistake and signed out of my account. But I couldn’t stop thinking about the things she had written. Where did she live that she had two feet of maple leaves collecting in her yard? What would Jana and Ed think of the Christmas pie she was baking for them, and who was this granddaughter who shared my name?

I tried to imagine what these people looked like, what kind of lives they had, how they spent their days. I was creating a whole story around them in my mind and, before I knew it, my Blinking Cursor Syndrome was gone.

Inspiration comes in all shapes and sizes. It might be wrapped in the form of a passionate speech, a haunting melody, or even an email sent by mistake. These are the seeds that grow into ideas, and then – if we’re lucky – into art.

I’m not saying that my adopted grandmother’s email planted seeds in me that will one day bloom into art, but who knows? Maybe they will. Right now I’m just happy they were enough to get my creative juices flowing again. So thanks, ‘Grammy’, whoever you are, and Merry Christmas. Even though you intended it for someone else, your email made my day!

Felicia Cameron Leger

About Felicia Cameron Leger

Felicia Cameron Leger is a writer of Christian fiction and has a background in historical research. She has a fascination with the events that have passed before us, and the primordial ways in which they influence us today. She is presently working on a novel set in first century Rome.

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