To Margery Kempe (first letter)

Dear Mrs. Kempe,
A book in your name still circulates.
Some consider it a precious shortcut. They think it bypasses centuries of violent marginalization, dogma and convention.
You seem to take shape for these people with the most casual of readings. They say you’re so idiosyncratic and immediate, a mother fourteen times over, a tortured sinner, an ecstatic seer and devoted pilgrim.
It’s as if this book is your connection-in-absentia with the ongoing present (fulfilling some existential promise of Art).
Experts claim you were illiterate. Some think you dictated the book for English scribes, but the earliest known version is written in an archaic form of German. Maybe your daughter-in-law from Danzig wrote it. What could she have done with the story of your life?
Maybe she made the whole thing up.
Some say the book consists of mad ramblings. Others argue it’s quite sophisticated (a clever portrait of devout faith, an intentionally populist evangelical tool). Perhaps it’s all of these things and less, a palimpsest of transference, doubt, conjecture and paraphrasing…
Representation thwarts communion with the dead.
You’ve been rendered an article of Faith.