Wednesday, December 23, 2009
A letter from Jan. 18, 1981
My mother, my sister and I wrote each other many letters, and some of them I've saved. I was going through a box the other day and I thought this letter my mother had written me in 1981 really gives you a sense of her vivid imagination, and where mine comes from.
The first part of the letter, which I left out, was about whether my sister should come with me on a lecture tour. (My mother was against it.) The rest of the letter is below:
I just read your "Dome of Peace ". It' s a beautiful story Sally and once again I can't get over the gift you have for writing. I knew you had done some interesting things at Smith but didn't realize the extent of your creative abilities.
I like this story particularly because it is positive. The world needs to hear and read of victorious characters. The character in your story is confronted with destructive forces and manages to be victorious over them. So many writers like to leave their characters in hopeless defeat or hopeless anxiety.
Of course that is the true meaning of Christianity--victory. I never told Daddy but I had the deepest respect for Martin Luther King--"I have a dream" and "We can overcome", just think
what he accomplished in his short life . Writers can have tremendous influence on people without ever knowing it. I am so moved by what I read that I have to make vigilant choices.
I actually gave up novels because I couldn't read them like regular people. I was "them" in the novel and couldn't do anything else till I was finished with "them". That's why I like biographies and autobiographies. I know the people turned out O.K. so I can read at my leisure, like regular
people. Even here I find myself wanting to copy down all the wise conclusions they come to so my children can have the benefit of them! With Schweitzer I was in steaming Africa, with Zelda Fitzgerald in the nut house, with Baruch on Wall Street, and so it goes... There are many people, not in the public eye who live victoriously and it is these people who deserve plaudits, like Enether and Jean Wallace.
Must close this, I am taking Bee Burnett to church and because she wants to/will sit thru a lecture on Islamic religion set up by the education dept at St. Pauls. Talk about negative! Who ever said I was prejudiced! If he isn't too darling about it I may find it interesting. He is a
professor, not a missionary.
My afternoon is going to be wonderful. First the football game and then the tennis!
Lots of love
(The letter was typewritten and I was able to scan it and then use a program that recognized the text to paste it here. )