Though many decades have passed since my last reading of Moby Dick I want you to know how profoundly satisfying I found that book. Through my teens I easily read it twenty or more times, turning to it as to an old friend and always finding something new to learn in its pages. As a writer I keep your cry of "Time, Cash, Patience" always in the forefront of my mind as the guide to striving forward in my work. And I keep the story of your life and its ups and downs of fortune as a lesson about expectations for my own life.
I particularly enjoyed your inter-leaved lessons of instruction about the nitty-gritty of whaling; its tools, its practices, its dangers and how they were met by its practitioners. The "long lay" about the tiny portion of earnings a newcomer might expect, the "right" whale and how it earned its name, flensing, the try-works, the boats that chased the whales and the position in each boat of the harpooneer, the steersman, the oarsmen and most importantly, the coils of rope that wound them all in its sometimes deadly embrace.
Throughout the book your spirit is the real motivating force. Your view of the world and the people in it, your adventurous and humanist outlook, is the bedrock of its attraction for me. There shines a tolerance for others and an appreciation of the value of difference through all your work and your characters that has stayed with me throughout my life. I have you enshrined with just a few other American writers as proof positive that the continent has produced truly human beings despite the proliferation of uncaring, unfeeling, war makers it seems to produce in abundance. You fill the writer's rule of communicating to your readers that "you are not alone" in a way that makes us want to be more like you. Your voyages on the sea of words has enriched us all.