Notes on Writers Who Have Something To Say
January 27, 2014 § Leave a comment
Raymond Carver is like an old friend I call up every so often just for the conversation. I see him as rumpled and kind of uh huh-ing into the phone’s receiver. He never disappoints. His is often one of the books I pick up—either poetry or short story—late at night if I cannot sleep. His people are real and often up against it but somehow even in the most dire of circumstances, there is humor and gritty hope. Toward the end of his life, he received an honorary Doctor of Letters degree in May of 1988 from the University of Hartford. At the Commencement ceremony, he offered a meditation on a line from Saint Teresa. It was his last-written work of prose and I offer a part of it here—it’s good to think about at night when you cannot sleep.
“Words lead to deeds….They prepare the soul, make it ready, and move it to tenderness.” Carver comments that, “There is clarity and beauty in that thought expressed in just that way. I’ll say it again, because there is something a little foreign in this sentiment coming to our attention at this remove, in a time certainly less supportive of the important connection between what we say and what we do: Words lead to deeds….They prepare the soul, make it ready, and move it to tenderness.” Not a bad thought for a writer any time of the day or night.