Thursday December 3rd, 2009

“I come of a savage & contradictious race…”

stwarnerTo accompany this week’s review of Thomas Mallon’s book about letters, each day the blog will feature two letters. This one was written by Sylvia Townsend Warner to William Maxwell on January 11, 1968. It’s taken from The Element of Lavishness edited by Michael Steinman. Thanks to Lisa Peet at Like Fire for passing it along.

I am very glad you were not burnt up in your car. I really am. I should be poorly off without you and as well as that I love you without the spur of self-interested motives. But some of the story is just as I would expect. Have you noticed that it is always harmless people like you & me, people who can’t bear to inconvenience others or disturb or disquiet them who burst into flames in the midst of gas tanks and so forth?

Yes, it is very sad for us both that Mr. Shawn doesn’t like the Edom stories. He comes of a sombre race. For myself, I come of a savage & contradictious race and my only reaction to his statement that my other stories “are wonderful” was to resolve that I will never write another. But I doubt if I can substantiate this noble resolution since I am in the middle of one at this moment. It is very short and black as pitch and he will reject it.

But don’t be distressed that you have had any part in encouraging me to write about the A. A. Galleries. All you have done has been to incite me to enjoying myself—the act of a friend.