Dear @BlessedBreadMama9998,

I really love your Instagram account. You and your gingham apron from Anthropologie make bread baking look so happy and fulfilled and like quarantine wasn’t slowly eating you alive. I wanted to feel that way, so I started to learn how to bake bread—and now, I guess I have a small complaint. I don’t really feel like you’re accurately depicting the breadmaking process. For instance, you never say in your posts how hard kneading is? Like, my arms are TIRED. Also, and this is really the main point here, why didn’t you warn me that my sourdough starter would become sentient and start making unreasonable demands?

Sure, at first it was cool, when the frothy, beige slop I’d been growing in the corner of my kitchen made little musical twangs when its bubbles would pop. And of course, I didn’t mind, when, after it learned to speak, it asked me to turn on the Allman Brothers. How fun! But when my sourdough starter told me it needed a guitar for its new band, a “Wilco meets Steely Dan” vibe, I knew things were about to take a turn for the worse.

I can’t use my kitchen anymore without my sourdough starter demanding I turn off my “Spotify Pop Hits” playlist in exchange for some “real music.” Last week, I was humming as I did my laundry and the sourdough starter informed me that “chord progressions in the key of A are for children, and I was old enough to know better.”

I came home yesterday from the grocery store to find my sourdough starter had spawned seven other sourdough starters, and they all were jamming on bongos in my living room. When I asked them to leave, because they were slopping yeasty brown water all over my floor, my sourdough starter told me “I was overreacting” and I “didn’t know what it meant to be an artist” and “my solid human body was limiting my experience of the jam.”

If I wanted to be gaslit in my own home, I would still be with film dudes who judged my fuckability on whether or not I’d seen The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. No, thank you! I don’t need that kind of energy—not from hot 1920s German Cinema majors, and not from a concoction of wild bacteria, flour, and water that became self-aware on my kitchen counter.

That’s why I’m turning to you, @BlessedBreadMama9998. I need your help! I don’t want to murder an emerging lifeform (that feels like a big no-no, right?), but I can’t take it anymore!!! My sourdough starter just lounges around on the couch all day snorting lines of sugar and telling me that I’m “the opposite of a muse” and that “my presence is a poison to musical creativity”—just because I asked it to help with the dishes! What do I do?!

Please respond quickly. My sourdough starter just said it would let me come on tour with it… if I were hotter. If you see a news story involving a thermostat cranked up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit and a dead sourdough starter, you’ll know I reached my limit.

P.S. Love that amazing cheddar-chive soda bread you made last week! I’ll have to try it!