Dear Leo and Miller,
So your Aunty Jess is getting married and she’s asked me to give a reading. Typically she only told me what the reading was about two weeks ago. Apparently she wanted to change it (I think she probably didn’t like names other than Jess and Jonnie featuring) but I have refused and so am reading the whole thing in it’s entirety. And so I should. Because it is beautiful. And made even more so because it has come from a real place about real people: without the names and domestic references, it loses what makes it so moving. So anyway what got me the most about this reading is the reason I had the idea for this blog. It wasn’t actually the words themselves, it’s the immediacy with which he wrote them. He replied to his son’s letter the same day he received it. Now of course it helps that he’s a literary icon and one of the most celebrated novelists of our time and his shopping lists probably read like masterpieces but still, he knocked this letter out in a day at the most. And maybe it wouldn’t have been so powerful had it been more thought out and perfect. So that is the thinking behind what I’m doing. I’m knocking stuff out as it happens or as I remember it or as I see it, without too much consideration or editing.
Love Fa. (Which is how Steinbeck signed off his letter so I am copying. Mummy sounds too sickly and Mother too formal.)