As I said at the time …

Well, you you write some of the sexiest lines in the English language. Did those nuns have any idea of your abilities?

Which reminds me: I love your Goths/lightbulb joke. The punchline for the Quaker variation, by the way, is “Who needs a lightbulb when you have the Inner Light?”

Ah, I guess this whole opus is coming off heavier in tone than I had intended, in part because my 50th birthday (awk! I actually said it) is just a couple of days away. Guess who’s in a very deep state of denial? I, who am seventeen in one part, and ninety-two in the other, am in that deep funk of mortality. Alas. It’s not really an emotion of depression, but rather abiding frustration – all of the fiction, essays, and poems in manuscript but still unpublished, the desire for wife and children, the yearning for economic freedom from the regular job, blah-blah-blah. In some ways, I really can’t complain: many of my poems are finally seeing print, although half of them are from two decades ago (yet the others, including the ones you accepted, are from the past two years). And my life to date really has had some incredible turns – after all, I was there when Mount St. Helens blew up, burying us in blackness and volcanic ash, which resembles a gray mixture of cement and talcum powder. I get out to New England contradances and to English country dances, though not as often as I would like. Enjoy the opera (talk about Italian!). Have a vibrant community of faith, even though my membership and focus are in a Meeting for Worship thirty-five miles away. Have seen eagles, moose, elk, seals, king salmon, whales, beavers, alligators in the wild, time after time. Full solar eclipse. Comets. The list could go on and on. Doesn’t help, either, watching the last project on This Old House, in Milton, Massachusetts, a half-mile from where I’ve done a lot of hiking and otter-watching – would sure love to have that kitchen, media-room, bedroom, laa-de-dah – instead of the place I’m renting. Should we start with a fireplace, like the one in that magnificent brick and leaded-glass dwelling I owned back in the Rust Belt of Ohio? Or the quaint gaslight neighborhood I lived in back in Baltimore, before taking the job up here? Actually, the whole thing is, I just wish the pieces would start coming together! Guess we’ll just have to see where everything is 50 years from now!

You have no idea how glad I was to get your big package at Christmas. On the one hand, I figured you were swamped in your first college semester and all. On the other hand, I feared (yes, we all have self-confidence issues, don’t we!) maybe I had offended you with the Wicked Italian dictionary (did you really enjoy the Pope jokes?) or my novel. You never know, right?


PromiseFor another take on romance and relationships, click here.



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