27 February 1996, San Francisco
My favorite correspondent. Salve! I am always pleased to receive your long letters which are not filled with the mundane, the banal, the "weather reports" which pass for letters in this period of telephone calls. I am not against any of the technological advances we are now enjoying; however, when I write a letter and the recipient then calls me on the telephone and chats for a couple of minutes, I am most disappointed. Thank you for being "old fashioned."
Before I go any farther I must apologize to you for the long delay in sending off "Canis Majoris." In my brief note which I enclosed with "Canis..." I said I would write and explain my weak excuses––and I have many––they are even believable; I could convince you that they are legitimate excuses for not having sent the novel when I had promised; ultimately, however, they are (indeed) weak. Lame excuses, as we say in English. Therefore, I offer no excuse, only my gratitude for your gracious patience. Patience is a great quality. In appreciation of your patience, I award you the Penelope Prize. The Penelope Prize is an occasional award presented to friends of the poet who have had to wait patiently while he did not send certain MSS which he promised. The Penelope Prize is only redeemable at the Caffe Puccini in San Francisco. There is no time limit on the collection of the prize.
By now, if the United States Postal Service and the Bundespostamt of the Helvetic Confederation have co–operated in accordance with the International Postal Union Treaty of l986, you have received "Canis Majoris" and are reading slowly and wondering where on earth I am going with such a story. A friend of mine who read it said it was "Charming." I rather liked that: Charming. However, there is more to it than a charming story. There are several levels at which one can read my novel: As an amusing story; as an artful polemic against certain branches of science; and the general hypocrisy of social conventions and attitudes in the human condition. All done, of course, with a light heart. I can be heavy–handed; but Antonio is such an adorable character, and not at all heavy–handed; and since he was telling the story, I let him tell it––which is usually the best way to write. So no matter at which level you read the novel, it is my sincere wish that you (if nothing else) enjoy reading it––even if you only like it for the amusing story it can be. I have sent it to a literary agent and the friend who said it was "Charming" is taking it to a friend of hers in New York who owns a publishing company. She will hand it to him and tell him to read it. So I have done (thus far) what I can to set into motion the wheels of publication.
I do need to be published. I am worthy and I deserve it because of my dedication and hard work, sacrifice and devotion for more than twenty–five years, and, because I am a good writer. Please excuse me for blowing my own horn; but now and then I need to not be humble and express my true heart in relation to my writer's art. I'm reaching a point in my life where I need to be recognized so that I may concentrate all of my energy on writing. As things stand now I must always have a job which has nothing to do with being a writer; frankly, I weary of such a waste of my precious time and talent––when I should be home writing. However, I am a responsible man and I must pay my rent and eat, etc., however, deep in my soul I don't want to do anything else except write. I am very single minded about writing. I think maybe I am even a little dull (socially) because I would rather stay home and write than go to a party with lots of people, things to drink, music, food and, perhaps, stimulating conversation. To be very honest, I don't need any stimulating conversation. I have enough stimulation in my brain for a lifetime. It often amuses me to hear that people are bored or that they want to be stimulated. I say amusing because I can't ever be bored and if I try to stimulate myself more than I am I would probably blow a fuse! (Said tongue in cheek, you must understand).
Thank you for the translation of my poem Contra Malinconia. Never in my wildest imagination did I think I would ever see that poem translated. I must say you did a splendid job on it; and yes, you gave it a literal translation which (as the author) I feel is the best way to translate that poem. I read it out loud in Italian. It has a different quality in Italian which is not bad at all. You are a talented woman, you have a good feel for language. Maybe if you ever get tired of teaching you might consider translating literature from English into Italian (or French––if your French is as good as your Italian. I don't know). When Shobana is around sixteen, she might be able to understand the poem. So she needs to begin her study of English as soon as possible!
I have spent the better half of this morning at my PC with my newly acquired dot matrix printer, printing a few short stories which I shall send off today. I composed the above letter last night while deciding what to do today. I have never written a letter to a human being with a computer. You are the first. Is that an honor? I'm not sure. Typewriters, yes; never with a PC. I have just about given up the typewriter; but I have not given up the pen. Therefore, since I have not completely answered your long, fuchsia letter, I shall print this out, and, at another session, respond to the rest of your leter––especially about your articles on India.
In the meanwhile, I hope this letter finds you and your family in good health, and that the frustrations of house–hunting are manageable. Until later, then, I am very truly yours,
are several level poontang now and then entitles them to all sorts of privileges and attentions and gifts and goin' out to dinner late or somethin' happens and ya got to be away for a while––well they just forget 'bout all the good
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