14. November. 1927
Dear Margaret: There are such a multitude (I seem to become ungrammatical at once!) of things in your letters that clamor for delightful conversation, I hardly know where to begin. Moreover I have been rather pressed for time.
After a very good meeting at Fort Worth I came over here on Saturday to stay the weekend with friends on my way to the next reading at a small place, Commerce,1 before going to Waco. That remains the best address, while I am running about this vast State. I have half a dozen more readings before the end of the month and possibly more. Possibly I go to New Mexico also.
When I got here, there was a poetry Society in session, where I went and had to speak. A small affair.
The College2 at Fort Worth was full of genial young people. But I weary of great hotels and noise. Texas is vast and rich, but no wilderness nor desert nor mountains—and so no escape. I would flee to Santa Fé. Chiefly I am thankful for a little real money, and Ihope there is some service to the audiences, though sometimes I wonder.
How delightful that you sold a story, a history. And how grand that you have read Gallion’s Reach and admire Tomlinson.3 Yes, he is a gorgeous master of prose and the innards of poetry, even though as you say this book is not a novel, hardly a tale, but enough for several tales.
A name?4 I wish I could find the very one for you! Certainlynot Margaret. Margaret is always to[o] hard and chilly for my ears. Only proper for a Sister Superior. Never any charm or glamor about her. And Alexandra much too brocaded and majestic. Sandra, perhaps, but not the full name. Alexandra Lawrence is too long to be readily picked up, and is not metrically right. To go with Lawrence you should have an accent on the first syllable like Gwendolen or Guenevere or Dorothy, though none of these would do. I’ll try to think some more. But do dash ahead with fiction, we will find a name. I don’t know about the art of the unsaid, though it is a right phrase. And I know I have to leave so such unsaid. I never could have the hardihood to be autobiographic truly. I was born to silence, and inherit a painful shyness and embarrassment from my mother. It is almost impossible to speak out. Why is that? Do you know, you woman, you psychologist? I am like Villon?5 Am I? How? Why? Yes, I know, Pierce6 is ready and I have no objection. But that won’t be biography or physiography and dates—bios is life, in Greek as you know. Your hands will be on the heart strings.
What about the Celtic temperament and that book?7
I am thankful you want to write to the heart. For that is the sort of writing I love, being but indifferent clever and mostly sympathy. My dear you have my hand, hold on!
No, I did not know that November is spring among the possessed people.8 And I am not of them. There is only one spring for me and that is April in New England.
You ought to write, Margaret, you have passed the baptism of fire and grief and parting and so understand the heart.
So glad I am that you can tell me the beautiful intimate friendly things, as about the pine pillow.9 Icannot stand seeing the poor insensate familiar things surviving all about us when the loved one is away, nor to find myself in a place alone where we once have been together, No, no, it is too much.
I like the South—the desert of New Mexico or Arizona, or the tolerant genial Southern California & its Hollywood, but nothing is ever more kind to me than our Northern Winter—I mean the dry Northern Ontario.
Haven’t read Jalna,10 so cannot say.
I must go to bed now, as I have to be off early in the morning.
But I am perishing for a bit of the Desert or a Mountain.
Much too civilian, this reading business, but thank the Lordfor it!
But it is quite all right for you to treasure keepsakes, my dear. Many can, and it is a comfort.