Friday, October 21, 2011
Letter Writing at Ghost Ranch
How they are carried and delivered is not the issue. Rather, who composed them and to whom is what drives letters through centuries and what propels them now. That and the need for intimacy/honesty, plus a natural linguistic music.
Last week in our class, The Art of Letter Writing, a wonderful mix of humor, drama, and imagination –
Mary Claire explains to her children exactly why she bought (without their advice) her new Dodge Journey.
Katie writes her daughter on the trials and triumphs of a long marriage.
Val writes to Ansel Adams asking if there is not a secret behind his famous shot, Moonrise, Hernandez.
Susan Barney Jones gives me permission to share this fine poem.
1001 West Mulberry Street
This is a letter to my childhood home.
This is a letter to Mulberry Street
to its wide paved expanse
beginning at the eastern edge of town
ending at the hogback dotted with yucca
to ghosts of Nash, Plymouth, Chrysler, Ford
parked at the curb.
This is a letter to seven trees planted on the lot
tall sprawling blue spruce, macintosh
and wealthy apples, delicate Chinese
maple, prized and protected gingko,
aggravating Kentucky coffee putting
up suckers, spicy Russian olive.
This is a letter to plants left behind.
This is a letter to the table in the kitchen
slam of screen door, splash of faucet
water, decaying picket fence and
broken gate lock, tilting clothesline pole,
empty wooden dog house, abandoned
antenna on the roof.
This is a letter to things forgotten.
This is a letter to three bedrooms
one crowded bath, sticking metal
sliding closet doors, ceramic
windowsills, casement window cranks,
to mildewed shower curtain, damp towels,
chips of soap in a cracked dish.
This is a letter to daily life.
This is a letter to washer and dryer
shelves of glass jars, canned
applesauce, homemade jelly
and pickles, plastic boxes of sliced
peaches in large white freezer
to stacks of magazines, folders of school
papers, dress-up clothes and garment
bags, nails and tools, photos and
to dusty basement
to past and present.
This is a letter to all a house can hold.