Wednesday, December 09, 2009

days of letters

My comment yesterday about intimacy and letters (middle: “There are intimate letters...”) had implicitly in mind a recent book I came across: Yours Ever: people and their letters, by Thomas Mallon, so lovely—about the art of letterwriting in the 20th century. Remember the 20th century? I so remember regularly spending hours a week writing long letters with a fountain pen. (I kept a copy of everything, packed away.)

Here’s a random passage from the book (truly random): “Probably no one who’s held the job [of U.S. President] before or since [Theodore Roosevelt] has left behind a more spontaneous bundle of correspondence—with the possible exception of Woodrow Wilson, who for months on end would neglect his job to type besotted love notes…to a woman across town” (111).

Maybe I’ll shelve desire for intellectual legacy and become an expert at besottedness.