Monday, September 21st, 2015

THE PLEASURE OF LETTERS WRITTEN ON PAPER. HOW QUAINT!

Here’s how I want to start:

—Dear reader, hope this finds you well. Thanks for the kind words you shared about my latest writing. I’ve been in the end of Summer hectic transition to Fall and look forward to a reading and writing frenzy instead. I have the books you suggested stacked on my already stacked desk. My book I PRAY ANYWAY—Devotions for the Ambivalent should go to Createspace this week. 
Hope this letter finds digging into your own work after a great Summer. Forgive my em dashes—

This is a poor imitation of a letter from the book Elizabeth Bishop and The New Yorker. I read it over the week-end and it was and is so sooooooothing. Every single letter back and forth between author and editors is so polite and lovely
(a word I rarely use). The cadence is almost courtly even when discussing punctuation.  I find reading letters written before the 60’s so reassuring. (Poor ol’ sixties–they are not to blame for absolutely everything.)  You know, that they recent TIME magazine asks the question, “Is etiquette finished forever?” or something like that.  

Anyway, if you want some calming and civility, read correspondence from the near or distant past. It shows how far we have come in a decline to crude tidbits of projectile vomiting viewed as writing or communication. (Sorry, I didn’t know that description, itself, would be so graphic. Irony emerges!  

So dear reader, I recommend the book Elizabeth and The New Yorker. Elizabeth Bishop was/is quite the poet and worked with some greats at the THE NEW YORKER magazine. She drove them nuts with her erratic punctuation as I do my  writing colleague.  The point is to enjoy a kind of civility that is not at all restrictive, but uplifting in style and substance.

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