If you haven’t already, do not assume that these long never-to-be-sents are unique to me. Although there are probably not many like me who are writing long, thoughtful and — let’s face it — wordy unsent letters to his baseball player idol, the form and reflection of these never-to-be-sents is often replicated in e-mails that are exchanged between my friends and me. Often, I don’t even do the initiating. To tell you the truth, I don’t put in as much effort into e-mails to my own friends as I do in these never-to-be-sents, which says a lot about my state of mind, and why therapy is especially useful.
Recently, Spencer came up with the idea that we should have a book club with some of our friends. She was reminiscing about some of her childhood favorites when she realized that her lifelong fondness for reading had also been a private joy that she now wanted to see reflected from all of us. For years, we have known that each individual in our circle of friends loves to read but we never thought to ever organize a book club together. What has followed after Spencer proposed the idea is an e-mail thread that this morning produced this brilliantly realized passage from Spencer:
Growing up I loved The Trumpet of the Swan and Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White. In each of these books, there is a sense of nobility and sacrifice. In The Trumpet of the Swan, the protagonist Louis is a mute trumpeter swan who cleaves the webbing of one foot so he may use a trumpet to communicate and create music. The idea that one must suffer to create art impressed itself on my very young mind. And, deep in the pre-Internet age, I remember longing to know how his romantic ballad “Beautiful Dreamer” sounded. The excitement I experienced when I heard the melody by chance in an old movie is indescribable, and it can’t have happened in our time, when a search for the song would likely lead me down the Youtube/Google rabbit hole — and to neglect the very book which inspired the search. I often wonder if ours is the last generation to read novels, as the Internet is so prevalent, so invasive; nowadays even elementary school children have smart phones.
The part that struck me the most was the revelation that today’s generation will not have the same literary experiences that we did; however, the entirety of the passage is profound, especially her analysis of The Trumpet of the Swan. After digesting the magnitude of Spencer’s observations, what followed was an act of pride and a simple smile. I thought to myself, My friend wrote that.
Feel free to join our book club, btw.