Life, Where Art Thou?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Dear Maud,

Of your manifold merits, one is remarkable: you are a captive audience; a reader confined, as it were, to my imagination, like a figment to a jar of jam. As such, you must be grateful for what you are given.

Yet I sense your rising unease. Where are the matchbox missives of old, you wonder; where are those eggy amalgams of fact and fancy, of ‘reads and deeds’. Life, you cry, where art thou?

Where indeed!

Certainly, my latest letters are thick with literary lettuce – though not, I think, at the expense of life. Think again, you say. And so I shall – here on this very page. But, Maud, be warned: books beget books.

My argument is simple. (Simplistic, you mutter.) It goes like this: books educate and education liberates. Pithy, eh?

Having nutted it out, William Pearson Tolley puts it in a nutshell: ‘the intelligent and habitual use of books provides an access to facts, ideas, and aesthetic experience available in no other way.’ (And, yes, this comes from a book – The Adventure of Learning, no less.)

Furthermore, education is the ‘process by which [man] grows up into freedom’.

Keep reading, Maud, for it will free you!

Enough tosh; here is some doggerel to bury this boneheaded puppycock:

Next door to me,
there’s a big pear tree;
it’s the only tree there,
but it’s still a pear –
just like me and me and me.

Yours etc.