I can guess how they felt, the two teenagers who wrote me thank-you notes because I gave them copies of two of my books at Christmas time. The kids probably felt embarrassed at having to submit their writing skills to a man who writes books. But they did a good job.
The reason I know how they could have felt is that today I sent a letter to one of America’s finest writers, and I was very careful to be on my best writing behavior as I did it.
The author was Wendell Berry, and when he writes a book, it is immediately reviewed by the N.Y. Times and the L. A. Times. Wendell’s great-grandfather and my great-grandfather lived in the same town at the same time, and both seemed to have helped Gen. John Hunt Morgan (CSA) escape from the Yankees in 1863. We have been comparing notes for some time. (A bit of the story about my ancestor and President Lincoln’s dealings with him can be found on this web site in my Nov. 28 Post to this Blog.)
So, I was nervous about writing to Wendell. And I can say it here because I know he will never see this Blog; he is famous for avoiding computers. Well, maybe there is a crack in his armor. Most of his notes to me have been hand-written. But I noticed his last letter had been composed on a computer.
Maybe someday Wendell will become sloppy with the rest of us keyboard bangers.
Wendell+Berry Writing Civil+War