I’d like to share an excerpt from a letter a reader of the Bonnie and Clyde book sent to me this week. Two friends sent the reader the book and I am grateful for that act because this letter deeply touched me and offered fresh insights about the book and its larger story of and institutionalized (and lucrative) inhumanity unique to America. The letter also reminded me how wonderful it is for a writer, any writer, to hear from readers, about where the writer’s words landed. I know I often write to authors whose books have made an impact on me. Typically, you never hear a thing back, but sometimes you do. I encourage everyone out there who loves books to communicate with authors and share your appreciation and insights about the work. Even conflicts or perceived inadequacies with the book can be shared. Most writers don’t want Valentines from readers, at least I don’t. It doesn’t matter if it’s a book, a poem, a painting, a fort, a song, a play, a craft, a grand meal. If the art and artistry moved you, let the maker of that art know.
I just finished The Bonnie & Clyde Files at my living room table with Glenn Gould playing the last movement of the Mozart Piano Concerto #24 in C minor playing on my stereo; perfect music for the ending of your book and what may come afterwards: a mixture of mysterious foreboding built into the main theme and throughout the movement, nostalgia for past beauty recently experienced simultaneously with Sturm und Drang on either side..
When I sent you my first email that I was “enjoying” your book, I immediately felt that was an inadequate and inappropriate word to use, although I was mostly thinking at that moment about your adventures with Bonnie & Clyde, the beautiful river sights, the formal structure of your book which is so powerful and profound as it proceeds, and the clarity and concise skill of your perceptions put into words, all of which I continued to admire more and more as I read deeper into the book. I must have been at around page 52 at that time.
Now that I just finished it, reading this afternoon from around page 71 to the end, I have deep emotions and feelings that have very little to do with “enjoyable,” but I can still admire the climax you so skillfully brought towards the end, like a dramatic symphony that both recapitulates itself and goes beyond what has come before to leave the listener, here reader, with its ending, at a peak of emotional, intellectual, and spiritual intensity that only resolves itself through a vow to continue onward as a more informed spiritual human being, much more aware of injustices and atrocities occurring in our natural and social environment, determined to take actions, or adopt appropriate inactions, to make our beautiful miraculous world a better place—I can say this of few books I’ve ever read, but know your are a true brother in spirit along with Walt (Whitman) and Hesse.