Molly Peacock
The Alphabetique
Virtual Advent Calendar

Visit Molly Peacock's website and its Alphabetique page.

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

Alphabetique cover

"The Alphabetique Virtual Advent Calendar" ran from November 1 to 26, 2014.
On each of the 26 days, a detail from one of Kara Kosaka's jewel-like illustrations for the abecedarian mini-stories
in Alphabetique: 26 Characteristic Fictions accompanied a line or a bit from the story of the letter of the day.

Read the full text of this and all the letters in Alphabetique: 26 Characteristic Fictions,
published in Canada by McClelland and Stewart.

Purchase the hardcover of Alphabetique from,
McNally Robinson,, or local Canadian bookstores.
Purchase the e-book from Kobo, Google,, iBooks,, or

November 1


"The Birth of a Genuine Article"

In which pregnant A and her husband THE climb an Alp.

Alphabetique A

Naming a first child
, she despaired, it's one of the most original acts of a lifetime.

"An audacious appellation," her husband announced as she approached him.
"That’s what we need! How about Acrophile?"
For the apple of our amour? No! A didn't say.

Later: The ghost of Aunt AN appears …       

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November 2

"Portrait of a Letter as a Young B"

In which B, a young Bembo font, spends her first sojourn at the Font Colony, deciding the course of her life.

Alphabetique B

Before she finds refuge with a group of elderly Lucida Grandes, she's forced to sit with "the blistering, bitter Times New Roman."

"How dare people call him 'B-list.' … He deserved the Bulitzer, the Brillium, and the Bovernor General's Award, not to mention the Bobel Prize."

Later: Young B discovers The Bembo Prayer.

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November 3:

"C, the Softie"

  What made Soft C so silent? Was it Hard C, his father? Or his ex-wife, crisp as lettuce?

Alphabetique C

"He had ideas, whole constellations of them gamboling above him as he fell asleep …"

Later: As "a grandfather in a cloud of spicy aftershave, c often did not bother to speak,
except when he hooked his grandson under his arm and carried him up to bed."

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November 4

Delight: Alphabetique: 26 Characteristic Fictions premieres in Canada today.
Delay: US and UK purchasers -- stand by ...

"D and His Deer"

Do dreams really begin responsibilities?
D is a diplomat who always felt, somehow, double.

Alphabetique D

"Impulsively D lay down in the leaves in his three-piece suit. …
A stately antlered stag appeared in the distance and slowly, with a calm command …"

Later: Enter an endearing doppleganger …

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November 5

Here is a Youtube video, conjured with elan and esprit by Carlos Lopez,
about Alphabetique.

"E's Encyclopedia of Emotions"

"Pick an expertise and stick with it," E's family advised her.

Alphabetique E

But she couldn't.

The entire family was appalled. Had their little elf become an enfant terrible?

Later: An education in emotions from embarrassment to exaggeration …

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November 6

"The Flibbertigebbet's Flaw"

“Fifteen-year old F flounced on stage, positively fetching …”

Alphabetique F

Later: After the performance something escapes her lips, & a "velvet-coated flautist" arrives …

Still later: Fever

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November 7


"Pass the growling chairs! Graze the grimacing table!
Run the gauntlet of the hall, little g!"

Alphabetique G

He's "the genius of the bottle caps, the Gulliver of Gleaners."
"Grouping is his gift."

Later: Grandma calls …

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November 8

"Hotel Religion"

Home had been hell for half-pint H ...
no spiritual life at all
-- until he discovered hotels ...

Alphabetique H

"Humongous urns of hibiscus overflowed ...
White towels lined the marble and mirrored bathroom. Hosanna!"

Later: Room service. Hallelujah.

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November 9

"Dr. I and the Illustrator"

Psychiatrist Dr. I tries to help
her patients toward Independence.
Then the Illustrator arrives.

Alphabetique I

"Like an inkblot her irritation spread into
her general thought about her profession."

Later: "A little i-child flies about,
but a grown I has to take those wings inside.'

Later still: "Inkling hearts" from father to son to grandson ...

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November 10

"While Jiggle Juggles, J Makes Jam"

"When you've been jilted, judged, jeered & japed at by a jealous jerk
who's put your self-confidence in jeopardy by going for your jugular,
you can always make jam, as J in desperation did."

Alphabetique J

"Her little daughter Jiggle jumped around the house
in her striped jammies, jitterbugging
here and there in a world of her own."

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November 11

for Kara Kosaka, genius illustrator,
in which you get a glimpse of her Knight collage in two of its stages.

"A Knight's Knack"

The brash knight-errant "thought he had it all in hand. … Then came the accident …"

Alphabetique K

His squire "sewed his liege two special gauntlets, one for his left hand,
one for his right arm, all stitched with seed pearls, one for every tear K had shed."

Later:  The former knucklehead becomes a man with a knack.
Knickers are removed ...

Later yet: Immortal know-how.

Kara Kosaka is the krafty illustrator behind Alphabetique.

Her collages have gone in drafts as we've discussed the images back and forth.
K, her Knight, underwent one of the most substantial changes.
Above is her final. Below is her first draft -- a beauty, now vanished into the heaven
of lost Alphabetique illustrations ...

Alphabetique K original

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November 12

LOVELY of you to stay with these snippets!

"L at Her Pool"

"L's mother, Miss Lily Valley, had been a child star in the early talkies, a legendary girl …"

Alphabetique L

But now L was a woman of a certain age, a widow,
"lazing in a chaise by her pool" and visited by a masked Launcelot …

(Note: There's just a hint of the blue pool
in the background of this sliver of the illustration.)

Later: Laughter!

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November 13

Magnificent of you to stay with these morsels!
We are half way through the alphabet.

"M's Dream House"

"M grew up thinking she understood her mum.
But in fact she only understood her in daylight."

Alphabetique M

Money worries plague Mum. Maugie the cat runs away.
Then M makes "the mistake of inviting McM for Saturday dinner …"

"Metamorphosis sets in."

Later: Maugie becomes a therapy cat.

Later still: Mushroom soup …

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November 14

A Virtual Nesselrode Pie to all you daily readers!

"The Negativo Trio"

"No was a violin,
Not a viola, and Never a cello.
They were noble instruments, but highly nonconformist."

Alphabetique N

"Although they certainly wouldn't have said No to notoriety,
eventually they had to admit that they could not surrender their quirks."

Later: The trio grows negative about EVERYTHING.
Still Later: A nuthatch wakes them up.

Later still: The smell of earthly harmony.

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November 15

An orchardful of thanks to all you daily readers!

"O's Full Circle"

"When it came time for O to horrify her parents,
she dated lassos, loops of rope
who threw themselves around her waist …”

Alphabetique O

Later: O becomes a BiO major.

"I'm assigned to share this station, too,"
whispered a lanky, elongated oval.
His name is Zero.
Still later: The oomph of omphalos ...

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November 16

Thanks to all you passionate readers!

"The Poet"

Petrichor is the smell before the rain.
What is the smell before war?

As P, the haiku poet, ponders the pond in his kimono,
"a poem begins to perfuse."

Alphabetique P

"He worked to make his pleasure stay,
pitiable and small against the portents rising …"

Later: Someone in a pool of pink silk.

(Note about the illustration:
  that's kimono silk scanned and digitally collaged by Kara Kosaka.)

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November 17

(This abecedarian tale appears as a Prose Poem
in the December Poetry Magazine, with Kara Kosaka's full collage
-- an illustration you can almost smell.)

"Q's Quest"

"Mind now, stay in the queue," they said to the little boy orphan
who would soon be selected by the Flower Keeper for the Queen ...

Alphabetique Q

"The boy's quick-witted, the Flower Keeper thought."
Later: "Q looked down at the curls on the Queen's forehead
and remembered his first unspoken word: Why."
"A quixotic word, an essential thorn. It had pricked him awake, into manhood."

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November 18

Raucous Applause for all you Readers!

"R and her Great Egret"

"The professor corrected her drawings not as her art teacher did,
but from the ready observations of the scientist who knows more about these
radiant water birds than anyone.
Never apologize for an honest mistake, he would say when she had regrets ..."

Alphabetique R

R revered her weathered and recondite role model --
who was quite a cryptic raconteur if she caught him in the right mood.
Later: "Regret doesn't mean you'd change what you've done," he said.
"It's a place. The negative space a choice leaves."

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November 19

A sumptuary of thanks to all you daily readers!

"The Sister Sailors"

"S sailed on her ship from the land of sparrows.
S sailed on her ship from the land of swallows."

Alphabetique S

"Neither was new to combat. Sheer experience stirred their fear.
The struggle for each was to control an alarm inside, a wakened panic
that took the shape of insomnia."

Later: "What silly thing do you miss most?" S asked S. "Not a person, a thing."
And S replied immediately, "The dishwasher."

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November 20

Thank you, treasured daily readers!

It's the most Canadian of the Tales ...

"T's Diary"

"At ninety-five feet tall and a mother tree, T has tremendously deep roots
-- two thirds of her is underground!"

Alphabetique T

"It was a miracle T had survived the threat of the ax
and the turbulence of the blizzards and the toxicity of the rainfall,
not to mention the terrible year a noose hung over her outstretched branch."

"She just recorded what happened in her diary --
locked inside her central core: her rings."

Later: Carrying on is character, T thought, I'm no tragedienne.

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November 21

Dear Subscribers,
Thank you, you, U!

"Useful U"

A massage therapist
with a utopia of a workshop in his garage,
"U loved being useful."
His 92-year old mother had her aches and pains.
She'd grown up during an ugly war. ...

Alphabetique U

"One morning he woke up in the undertow of a dream."
"Back he strode to the workshop."
"With an urgency he never expected to feel,
he began to sculpt the figures in the dreamscape.""

Later: "It wasn't a complete U-turn in time from the life he had always lived ...
He had just incorporated the unknown into the useful. ..."

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November 22

Thank you, Valiant Subscribers!

"The Plunge of V"

"V was not interested in making points,
but in being them."

Alphabetique V

"She was voluptuous, but also a little vestal."

"She sprang to the wings on helmets of the Visigoths,
dove off ledges to the halls of Valhalla,
folded herself into the multiple arms of Vishnu,
vaulted onto V-necks in suitcases on every luggage carousel
from Vladivostok to Venice ..."

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November 23

Wishing you wonders, faithful subscribers.


"Wisteria was the ordinary daughter of a warlock.
Wittle was the normal son of a witch.
They lived in neighboring skyscrapers
across a wide West Side street."

Alphabetique W

"Wisteria could have become a waif, or worse, a wraith,
but instead she became willowy and a wee bit wild."
"Wittle could have become a wimp,
but instead he became a wrestler of thoughts,
and, recently, a wrencher of wire."

Later: "Don't wuck everything up ..."

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November 24

Thank you, eXcellent subscribers.

"X Marks Her Spot (With Lipstick)"

"X decided to make a short excursion
to an exclusive makeup counter,
one of those exorbitant places
that was both exhilarating and exhausting. ..."

Alphabetique X

Later: "The exasperating truths of Buddha ..."

Still Later: 
X contemplates the great Traditions of life and death
as well as lipstick colors.
"Would you like the Xanadu
to replace the Extravaganza?"
asked the sparkling young man at the counter.

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November 25

Thanks for your yummy company, subscribers.

"Yet, Yes"

"Y often felt guilty and couldn't enjoy
all that was yelicious and yonderful."
He lived with his upbeat partner
and their two adopted daughters, Yuki and Yukon,
and a yapping Yorkie,
in splendid domestic yawp.

Alphabetique Y

"Everything isn't as yawful as you'd have it be, you know," Y's husband said.
(They were yin and yang in the glass-half-full or half-empty department.)

Later: His father, the Yahoo.

Still Later:
Y breaks his yoke!
Yuki and Yukon yodel at yuletide.

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November 26

A ziggurat of gratitude to all you subscribers!
A marathon is 26 miles; this alphabet project has been 26 days.
And you've stayed with our Canadian collaboration!
Thank you for crossing the finishing line.
Happy Thanksgiving to Americans,
Happy Hols to all.
It's been an honor to have you by our side,
Molly & Kara 

"Z at the Satisfactory"

Z, the long-retired zoologist, can't resist following a turtle into a glade. ...

"There it was, the Satisfactory, the sweetest manufacturing plant of all.
So it's not a myth ... Z had heard rumors about the Satisfactory
all the time from the botanists at the lab."

Alphabetique Z

Later: At the zenith, down he zlides, hollering zyzzyv-a-a-a-a!
He falls into a heavy snooze.

Still Later: 
Zounds! Awake at last,
he's reborn as a letter!
What will be the first word he forms?
Zygote, of course, the first unit of life, ...

Thank you for reading the last znippet of our abecedarian project.

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

Visit Molly Peacock's website and its Alphabetique page.