Instructions on how to
by Francesca Chabrier

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Instructions on how to write a novel:

Begin with the following passage: Mimilo was born in the war.  A premature orphan left next to a white stone in a prairie.  Tiny by all standards, with not a bit of hair and eyes the size of planets; green and round.  Change Mimilo’s name.  Be sure she never finds out who her mother is.  She will marry a sentinel.  Scatter her ashes in the river Seine.

Instructions on how to imitate an angel:

Eat rice until it feels like there is a pillow in your stomach.  Designate enough time and space in your day to be sure it remains fluffed. 

Instructions on how to anticipate crossword puzzle answers:

Shakespeare’s food of love, Gasket type, Numerical prefix, Little swab.

Instructions on espionage:

Draw what is happening outside your window with your non-dominate hand.  Now close your eyes and draw what you imagine happening inside your neighbor’s house with your dominant hand.

Instructions on how to get married:

Build a box from weathered wood.  Fill it with melon. Do not freeze, dry or boil the fruit.  Nail the flaps of the box to its body, and wait one full calendar year before opening it.  Inside there will be a pink jewel.  Pass it on.

Instructions on how to fight loneliness:

When you are home alone, make a meal by following a recipe, but without preparing a tidy mise en place. Say out loud what you are doing (everything) as you are doing it (the whole time). Do not stop talking.

Instructions on how to hibernate for winter:

Enter a TV-darkened room.  Realize that there are problems that seem very serious, but they will not exist once the snow melts.  The woman in the movie that is being broadcast is breathtakingly beautiful.  If the telephone rings, unplug it.

Instructions on how to build a net:


Instructions on how to prepare for a ritual of longing:

Part 1:

Write non-stop for 15 minutes in front of a fire.  Throw the paper into the fire.  Do not think too hard about loss.

Part 2:

Learn to let go of your lover if his ship has passed.  Accept that something is missing. Fill it with water.