Elvira Rivers

“Dear Elvira” Series

Elvira Rivers as photographed prior to her online debut.

As Little Patuxent Review Online Editor, I slipped in something that any literary review of repute required: an advice column, complete with a fictional columnist. Now, allow me to re-introduce her here:

Elvira Rivers, une femme d’un certain age, was born on a certain date in a certain place. Her father was the storied British actor and playwright Tony Thames-Avon, her mother the celebrated Latvian beauty Daiļa Daugava-Gauja. When the 21-year-old Elvira Thames-Avon-Daugava-Gauja made the acquaintance of the 23-year-old Percy Pocomoke-Patuxent, she made surname compression a condition of their pre-nuptial agreement. The Rivers were inseparable until their divorce two years later.

Elvira went on to cure the common cold, design couturier gowns and write The Great Latvian Novel, while Percy vacillated between painting and poetry, then poetry and prose. He eventually acquired a Harvard MBA and left the States to run the London office of the venerable Boston investment bank Duck & Cover. Back in the USA, he was convicted on 14 counts of fraud and conspiracy and is currently serving an 11-year sentence.

To encourage her former spouse to return to the literature and art that he so loved, Elvira sent frequent letters. After finding herself uncharacteristically incapable of making ends meet–her nest egg had suffered substantial cracks during the 2008 crash–she went about regaining her financial footing by writing a column that helps creative types such as Percy better navigate life’s unruly waters, initially for LPR and now exclusively for me.

Note: Elvira is not related to my mother even though her first name and the middle name of that witty woman are identical. She is also not the woman shot by Ewing Galloway, though the resemblance is remarkable.

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