…about my book. The woman writing is the daughter of one of Norman’s university friends.
They [the letters] are amazing. And I had no idea about the poems. They all put my concept of Norman in a completely different light. I had always thought about Norm’s death as so tragic — as an extinguished candle. But that he was able to write what he did, explicitly to reflect upon and articulate his life and his relation to others so fully, makes me feel less the tragedy and more the celebration of a life astonishingly well lived and, in the Socratic sense, well-examined. I was amazed at his ability to write “yet my heart and life are whole” — so beautiful! — and then to follow it with “I hope” — which returns us to grounded life as he lived it, and to the humility that he showed alongside his amazing strength of character. It left me speechless. He lived so well. And the letters to Rigmore are amazing — the love for a sister, but also a sort of fellow artist, wanting her to know the truth without having to experience it all. Alcohol, the comic version, and wolves — those were just great — and how he wanted her to be honest in confronting life while protecting her from it. And that letter to his parents … Not many people, however long they live, ever get to put into words what he was able to write. These words of his, which live on, which you have preserved and offered to the world, really changed my whole picture of what it can mean for a life to be cut short. Too short, yes — but also lived so fully…Whether or not you issue further editions, what you have done in offering these letters to the world is wonderful beyond words. Your book so honors Norman and all the hopes and spirit reflected in all that he wrote — and so many other men (and women) who were part of his story, and beyond it.
Thank you, dear reader!