Dear Best Friends,
You know how I revere your works. And I know I am far from alone in my admiration, for you are the idols of us bookworms, but for once I am writing to you, instead of because of you.
Attempting to choose one of you as the one to whom I am most connected brings pangs of guilt for those not named. No matter who I might choose, I know the rest of you will speak up to question my reasoning.
“As if there is another whose words you quote; whose words banished adolescent thoughts of suicide,” comes Mrs. Parker’s reproach. Of course, Dorothy, I owe you much and someday I may still write your poem on my bedroom ceiling.
On my bookshelf, out of reach of careless hands, is the all to well worn first book I ever read. Though I could not have told you her name without looking it up, Allison Uttley’s images of little Fuzzypeg and his holey blue smock are a fresh in my mind as they were in 1957
Honore, do you think Mrs. Uttley’s tale of Fuzzypeg’s being led astray from school would have held attention on the Decameron? The shift in tone would almost reflect the shift I made from child to adult – abrupt - but the theme and personalities remain the same.
Monsieur De Maupassant, knowing the mere mention of dear Balzac piques your interest, would you favor us with a treatment of the story, changing the characters to people of La Belle Epoque? Or do you think one of your short stories already tells this tale? Then, while your stories merge in my memories, another voice, more current , grows louder. “The spirit of my words inspire your daily discourse with my countrymen and our symbols look down over you each morning and night from your caligraphy. Would you place poems and little stories you rarely, if ever, read twice before the inspiration my disclosures have given since the first paragraph of mine you read?”
I know you will forgive my dwelling in a bit of revelry, Jung Chang. As you say, I cannot turn my back on the quest for truth that you and Irwin Tang have set me on, nor still my voice that you so often bring to life. Thank you for giving expression and facts to what I somehow already understood, and for leading me to so many others whose words need to be known.