Friday, June 12, 2015

Mother's Pearls

A real staircase writing post. If I had known of this exchange, I would have been delighted to tuck it into The Memory Of All That. (Picture is my grandmother, Kay Swift, not wearing pearls.) The writer David Margolick sent me this little find in the S.N. Behrman papers at the New York Public Library.

Letter from Kay Swift to SNB, MAY 21, 1972:
 
     Dear Berry,
 
     Thank you for that keen edge of delight I felt while reading the first two instalments [sic] of ‘People In A Diary,’ in the New Yorker. I can hardly wait for more.
     At the risk of sounding fancy-schmancy, I’m compelled to tell you something I’ve told only Emily Paley – and that just now on the telephone. After reading the piece and noting your extraordinary use of words, and thinking about the fact that nobody else quite possesses this faculty, I went and found my mother’s real pearls in a hiding-place, and put them on. I’m wearing them right now, (in bed, after a fairly trying day) and there is some connection or other between these beautiful pearls and your writing.
 
 Three days later, SNB to Kay Swift:

   Thank you for your enchanting note...I have never driven a girl to wear pearls before, and thank you for initiating me into this revolutionary activity.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Saturday, May 16, 2015