Dear Caddy

by allison gaudet yarrow

William Faulkner / The Sound and The Fury / 1929

Dear Caddy,

A boy at acting camp (he was from Boston) compared me to you and said, Ali, you must read Faulkner so you can know Caddy, she has this innocence worth preserving. Maybe he said this because you and I are both from the South, and there they teach their girls to be sweet.

I was working on a monologue — Kay in Godfather II, the scene when she reveals her abortion and then Michael smacks her in the face — and he was directing me. He said, be broken, but I wasn't sure how to break.

I was 15 and liked the attention from an older boy would-be director who seemed to want to be my big brother, who saw something in me he wanted to keep safe. He didn't really, though. Just like the boys in your life didn't really want to keep you safe. When they can't sleep with you, they're suddenly very interested in the chivalrous version of themselves. Not that you were theirs to worry about anyway.

I'm retouching my lipstick on a train that's taking me to a show that I'm not performing in because I don't act.

I would advise the younger you to change your underpants, and not to let those boys do the talking for you. I don't have any advice for you now, you're probably doing all right. Stuck in a good book ain't a bad place to be. I should be asking you for advice. I imagine you're a fine actress.

Allison G. Yarrow