Monday, October 12, 2009

"But will he love me like Calvin loves Alice?" - from a young woman's letter to writer Calvin Trillin

After reading About Alice, I know what this woman means.

You could read it in about an hour, it's just a little snippet of a thing. It's a lovely homage to Alice - wife, mother, writer, and teacher who was much beloved.

The first book Trillin published after her death is inscribed: "I wrote this for Alice. Actually, I wrote everything for Alice." Trillin speaks of wanting to impress Alice, of wanting her to laugh if he was trying to make something funny. And there's a lovely vignette about Dick Francis, one of the best English mystery novelists of all time, who spoke about his wife, Mary Francis, helping him write. After her death, he didn't think he could publish another novel.

It's effing damn stories like this that screw me up in the love department. Just when I think I'm ready to settle for any nice young man whom my mother would adore, I have to read a book like this, and start to wonder along with that young woman - Will he love me like Calvin loves Alice? Or like Dick loves Mary?

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