The Letter Project

May 31, 2009

Special Delivery (05)

Filed under: Letters — Theresa Williams @ 12:16 pm
Tags: , ,

This is another letter I wrote to my friend Beth while I was on a residency at Provincetown.  I had been reading a thick collection letters by Jack Kerouac and had read a poem by Denis Johnson in one of the workshops I took at Provincetown (with Mark Conway).  –TW

Fine Arts Work Center, Provincetown, MA  02657

Dear Beth,

It was around 11:00 at night and the street was alive with people who were happy and having a good time, but it wasn’t rowdy. I stopped and had a brief conversation with a couple I recognized from FAWC.  They sat on a bench; she was eating chips, and he was leaning forward on his cane.  He was older than his wife.  I told them I never wanted to go back home, and he said, “Do you think we want to go home… to Virginia?” 

I was so happy to take a shower that night and wash all of the street smells out of my hair.  I laid on the couch in my robe to let my hair dry a bit and fell asleep.  At a little after 2:00, I dragged myself from the couch, put on my jamas and got into the bed.  Man, did I ever sleep good.


The next day…

 It is now 2:25 a.m.  I hear the foghorn.  I guess I’ll never hear a foghorn again without thinking of Denis Johnson’s poem. 

I guess I will end this with a quote from one of Kerouac’s letters, this one to Allen Ginsberg.  In the letter Kerouac talks about the importance of his inner life and how he needs to get it to the surface through his art:

The bigger and deeper this inner life grows, the less anyone of you will understand me…Putting it that way may sound silly, it may particularly amuse Burroughs, but that’s the way it is.  Until I find a way to unleash the inner life in an art-method, nothing about me will be clear.  … After all, my art is more important to me than anything … None of that emotional eccentricity that you all wallow in, with your perpetual analysis of your sex-lives and such.  That’s a pretty past-time, that is. … I was telling Mimi West

Last summer how I was searching for a new method in order to release what I had in me, and Lucien said from across the room, “What about a new vision?”  The fact was, I had the vision … I think everyone has … what we lack is the method.

 Beth, we’ve got to dedicate ourselves, too, to finding the method to unleash what is inside us.  It isn’t any less important than what was inside Kerouac.  Don’t you agree?  Is this letter ridiculous?  Do you see any “terrible crystals”?  How strange is this life.

Write soon.  xxxoxoooxo


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