Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Death Of Marguerite Young's Mother Brings A Sympathy Card

As I said in my recent post on the long correspondence I had with Anais, when we talked of turning our letters into a book her biggest enthusiasm was that we bring attention to the genius of Marguerite Young, and most of all to the great novel published by Scribners in 1965. It was agreed that Marguerite was at the center of our book. Going through the materials to prepare myself for the task of beginning this work, I came upon this extraordinary document: a Sympathy Card which Marguerite sent to me when her Mother died. The text reads:
"Dearest Wayne My beautiful little fairy tale mother is gone - suddently - without warning - and I feel that now I must die.
Love,
Marguerite Young"
The re-reading of this and feeling the embossed silver letters "In Deepest Sympathy" evoke a profound sense of, not loss really, but of a poetic nostalgia for all dead loves and all remembered things because nothing of Marguerite will ever be lost, it being inscribed, as she would have said, on memory's whirling disc. All these years later, this stark cry acts as a talisman propelling me forward to define the very center of our book.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

This is the first letter I received from Anais - It set the tone for the content of all our future correspondence- the subject was writing and she begins "Your statement on Marguerite Young was so
beautiful that I wish I had been able to quote it in my Novel of the Future! I copied it for Marguerite instantly and sent it to her. She needs it." All the themes of our future correspondence are there in that opening statement. She continued to invite my work into her books, and as the communications progressed she wrote to me: "We are writing books in these letters." Noteworthy in this letter is the lack of a date. Anais was so very very particular about such details. She always dated her letters, and it was a source of frustration to her that I never dated mine, as Marguerite never dated hers. In her final days Anais requested I publish these letters, but to wait thirty years after her departure from the planet, then to write the book. I have begun that process now, and it attests to my devotion to her mission and her vision that I have never once thought of exploiting our friendship in any way. I address this material now to fulfill her own wishes as stated in many conversations over the years. It was her wish that I emphasize give my attention to Marguerite Young as (in Anais's words) "our greatest writer." It is with a sense of reverence that I approach this task.