Abstract Magazine International | Dear Nancy Drew: Haibun by Roberta Beary
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Dear Nancy Drew: Haibun by Roberta Beary

24 Jul 2017, Posted by admin in Fiction

Art: Susanne Knapp


It’s me. Your newest author.


I’m here to tell you it’s time. To come out.

Of the closet you’ve spent decades in.

It must be getting old.


How long is Girl George willing to wait?

Or is Bess the one?

Whatever. Anything is possible.

That’s why they call it fiction.


I’ve known for ages Ned Nickerson is window dressing.

Clever of my predecessors to use code.

Ned keeps his knickers on. Get it?


Hannah the housekeeper can’t be trusted.

She’ll sell your sorry ass to the tabloids soon.

Anything can happen. It’s called fiction.


Don’t go running to daddy.

Carson Drew, famous lawyer, no can do. Not in my book.

I can write anything I want about you. Even haiku:


mirror moon—

her lover’s face shifts

in its frame


I hope I’ve impressed you with my writing props.


Back to you. I have it on good authority. You were born this way.

A Carolyn Keene pseudonym tried to out you.

She got canned.


They can’t get rid of me that fast. I’ve already got the title:

Nancy Drew, Lipstick Lesbian.


It only takes one author. One e-book. One voice.


Sincerely yours,

Carolyn Keene


“Dear Nancy Drew” was previously published in KYSO Flash #6. The piece earned Third Honorable Mention, in the KYSO Flash HTP Writing Challenge. http://www.kysoflash.com/Issue6/BearyDrew.aspx

“Dear Nancy Drew” was reprinted in Haibun Today, Volume 11, #1 (March, 2017). http://www.haibuntoday.com/ht111/H_Beary_Dear.html


Author’s Commentary:

Dear Nancy Drew is a hybrid haibun, a prose poem love letter to a favorite fictional character. Employing the point of view of the character’s creator, Carolyn Keene, the pseudonym of the series’ authors (male and female), I wanted to show that there are no limits to the haibun form if one is willing to take risks.


I also wanted Dear Nancy Drew to speak to women who grew up on the mysteries. Girls who may have wondered about Nancy Drew’s sexuality as well as their own. That’s why the narrator of Dear Nancy Drew is determined to speak frankly about her main character’s sexuality. And why the haibun is filled with allusions to the formulaic characters who inhabit each mystery.


My haibun may come as a shock to some fans of the Nancy Drew series. Many are wedded to the view that she is an appropriate role model for teens precisely because she is a good girl. A 16- to 18-year old unsullied by sexual desire. This type of thinking may have caused the editor of a recently published Nancy Drew anthology to decline my haibun. The editor’s rejection stated that the main character must be portrayed in a positive light.


Whether or not Dear Nancy Drew presents a positive image of a beloved fictional character is irrelevant. As my Carolyn Keene would say, “In haibun, anything is possible.”

About the author:

Roberta Beary is the haibun editor for Modern Haiku. She identifies as gender-expansive, and writes to connect with the disenfranchised, to let them know they are not alone. Her book The Unworn Necklace, named a William Carlos Williams finalist by the Poetry Society of America, is in its fourth printing. Her work is featured in A Companion to Poetic Genre (John Wiley & Sons, 2011) and Haiku In English: The First Hundred Years (W.W. Norton, 2013). Her book Deflection (Accents Publishing, 2015), a collection of haibun and haiku sequences on loss and grief, was named an Eric Hoffer Book Award Finalist and received a Touchstone Award Honorable Mention. Poet and playwright Grace Cavalieri says, “In Deflection she extends her reach with some of the most searingly truthful work I’ve seen this year.”


Visit her websites at www.robertabeary.com and https://www.facebook.com/robertabeary/


Read more of her work through the following links:










Twitter: @shortpoemz


Susanne Knapp, Vaxholm, Sweden, @treesinpeace.

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