Sunday, December 5, 2010

Friday, Umnak Island, 11 August 1944


My darling, 
This is just a note. I took time out tonight to catch up on my writing of other letters. I answered Howard Lewis’s last, and the one from Bos [Edward Bostetter, UW English professor], and I wrote again to John-boy. My letter to Chamberlain was prompted by his book review in the Times of July 8, which I enclose. I think you’ll get a kick out of it. The paper came several days ago but I just got around to reading it.
This day was exceptionally placid. I got up in time, but barely, to make it for noon KP. Jack and I had tea and I clipped some articles from the Times. I read a little in “Where the Rivers Meet.” This last is a heavily labored book. The author writes with forced colloquialisms as though he thought he were the product of a union of Thoreau and Whitman (not impossible, you know). But he does have a few good things to say.
This of canoes: “Its nose rises and falls, turning from side to side, as if it were gently refusing something it does not want. It splits a way for the sleek flanks, for the body which was the Indian’s contribution to the history of transportation, for the body to which nothing can be added and nothing taken away. It is as inevitable as the line of leaves. It is the lowest common denominator of a series of possible forms. It is lovely and useful, like the belly of a cello, the food of a running hound. It serves and pleases all. Two men, however different, see it each, as it were, with an eye of a same skull.”
All my love and a longer letter tomorrow,
M

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