Friday, November 23, 2012

What Comes In A Letter

Here I go again. I am grateful for the gift of impulse. If I wait simply because we're taught to do the right thing when it comes to getting an author's permission, I'd never get anything done. Like this:

I bought an eight year old pen friend what I hope is her first fountain pen. I bought it over a month ago. I took a bunch of photos to use for a December post. I wanted to give the pen as a gift for Hanukkah, but I wanted to give it as a Christmas gift too. What to do? I suppose I could have given the pen for Hanukkah, and then given her ink cartridges and a case for Christmas. Why was the choice so difficult? I asked for advice. Hanukkah is December 18. Christmas is the 25th. I hadn't decided which date to go with until just this second, when I paused to consider what to write next.  Thanks for your help. You listen well.

I've been looking for affordable fine stationery for several months. Frustration. I get such lovely letters from y'all, and I covet some of the paper you write on. I want to write to you on pretty-pretty paper too. I'm a little guilty of being a person Amy Winehouse sang about when she crooned about, ahem,  sticking with my "same old safe bets." But, I am guilty of another fault as well. Erin sent me a goodie box. She sent these:

She included a note with instructions to use before they spoil. Erin knows me too well. Sometimes I save beautiful or yummy things for a perfect day, and end up losing the beauty and the gift that came with the giving. Have you ever done such a silly thing? Once, she even gave me a box of gorgeous Crane & Co. stationery she'd barely used. I kept it until it faded. Inside the box. She gave me an organic hand cream not long ago. I used it so sparingly, it turned rancid. I still have it. I love the little jar it's in. I plan to wash it clean and store something tiny inside.

Now, I said all that to tell you that my intentions are always good. I mean well. I forget. So, I am going to share this with you first. I will write to Alice Randall tomorrow. I will ask for her permission. If I wait, you might not get to enjoy this as I have. Um, do you subscribe to or read Garden & Gun Magazine? I think only one other person knew that I do until now, and she doesn't live in the US. That's okay though. I should know by now not to be ashamed of what I like. I'm certainly old enough to know better, so, anyway . . .

I went to Garden & Gun's shop because I wanted to check out stationery I thought I saw in the copy with the biscuits on the cover. Somehow, I came across "A Letter from Harper Lee." Lord, have mercy. If I have shared this before, please-please-please pretend that I haven't. It's not polite to tell me directly. Just ignore this post. It's the gracious thing to do. But anyway. Aha! I did a search for stationery and that's how I made my way to Alice Randall. So. I will post the link here: 

And, I will write to Alice Randall tomorrow. Or should I? I haven't read her book. I did read Gone with the Wind. I read it in seven days. I was in high school. 

Shucks. What comes in a letter is often better than what comes in a book, but a letter that comes to defend a book is some kind of letter. See? I knew I'd get around to it sooner or later. Harper Lee wrote in defense of Alice Randall. 

I have to insert this little excerpt or burst: The bed quickly became my office of choice. And so I was sitting up in that bed when I got the call that told me my book was being suppressed by a judge in Georgia; and I was sitting up in that bed when I started looking at a stack of papers faxed to me from my lawyers, the letters and declarations of authors petitioning the court on my behalf, demanding that my book be set free.

The names dazzled. Toni Morrison, Ishmael Reed, Pat Conroy, Shelby Foote, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., and Henry Louis Gates, Jr., were among the signatures for my review. Eventually I came to a fax of a fax: a letter signed by Harper Lee. This signature carried the weight of To Kill a Mockingbird, Lee’s classic novel about race, redemption, and righteousness.

See? My bed is often my office/studio of choice as well! Oh, those names she dropped? Some of them are my favorite writers. Pat Conroy made me fall in love with the low country for real, and is responsible for me eating my first . . . Well, never mind that, but one of his books made me realize I wasn't crazy. I was just wounded.  But can you imagine seeing any one of those signatures on anything meant for you, and see Harper Lee's? I mean, I love her book, but I swear, I thought she was dead. I mean, she was born in 1926. Oh, Lord! Am I confusing her with what's her face? The one who used crutches. Dang, but her name eludes me. It starts with a C. Her last name. She wore cat eye glasses. Oh! Plus, Harper Lee wrote an open letter to Oprah Winfrey just a few years back. Sheesh. How could I just now think she was dead? See? See what comes in a letter? Confusion!

Y'all will have to read the entire letter for yourself if you want to "get it." I enjoyed it. It reinforced my belief that a letter hath charm to . . . No? Well, how about this: Letters are something else. Yes? And, what comes in a great letter is worth sharing.

Be well.


P.S. Hope y'all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I think I had too many carbs. As in dressing and potato salad. 


  1. Actually, the first candle of Chanukah is on Dec. 8th this year.

  2. This is my THIRD reply. Something keeps stealing them.

    Thanks for paying attention, and for correcting me. I remembered an 8 being involved. We flipped the calendar to check for a good day to send. I like having a solar calendar and a lunar calendar. Too bad I still need an iSomething to keep up with days and dates, and good friends to help me out.

    Now, let us hope that I will remember where I stashed the lovely pen. LOL. Thanks again.

  3. OH YOU SUCK! See now you have me spending more of my christmas fundage because I read your blog. Know that my child may never make it to college because of you! You LIMNER!!


    1. Oh my goodness! I am so pro education; I cannot imagine how I could jeopardize Miss K's college future. Did I do a Bernie and "made off" with some of the funds? ;) Dodson, D., you crack me up.