It was on this day in 1900 that Henry James wrote his first letter to the budding novelist Edith Wharton, beginning a long friendship. Wharton was an admirer of James's work, and she sent him one of the first short stories she ever wrote. He wrote back to say that he liked the story but that she shouldn't write about Europe if she didn't live there. He said, "Be tethered in native pastures, even if it reduces [you] to a back-yard in New York." His advice inspired her to write about the New York society she'd grown up in, and the result was The House of Mirth (1905), which became her first big success.
They remained friends for the rest of James's life, but while Wharton became more successful, James's novels sold less and less well. When he learned that she'd used the proceeds from a recent book to buy herself a new car, he joked that he hoped his next book would provide enough money for him to buy a new wheelbarrow. But he always appreciated her friendship, and once wrote to her, "Your letters come into my damp desert here even as the odour of promiscuous spices ... might be wafted to some compromised oasis from a caravan of the Arabian nights."
The Bachelor has recently been filming in my hometown. Not that I've ever seen an episode, but still — it's shocking that there might be national attention on such a little town. (It is the orthopedic capital of the world, but ... not exactly super-star material).
Lately, I find myself half-completing this phrase, "I spent seven years in Asia as far away as I could get, and now ..." — It's a bit of a catch-22. I love aspects of the MidWest, however the call of the wild will always tug at me ... urging me to go farther. Beyond.
In its defense, Indiana recently broke into Forbes top ten Best States for Business. I'm happily co-piloting a business, figuring things out in an unconventional sense; living one interpretation of "The American Dream."
At times, while I was abroad, I felt out of touch, off floating in the ether, disconnected from the "real world." As I've gotten older, I realize that this connection is tenuous at best for anyone, and not necessarily 100% mandatory. You create your own reality.
A battle of East vs West will always rage inside me, home vs away, physical vs metaphysical ... yet coming home has grounded me. Given me a platform from which to blast off.
The past holds as much power as you allow it to. The present is a gift. Appreciate.
- Zen Moments with Noggs
Home by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
The road in the end taking the path the sun had taken,
into the western sea, and the moon rising behind you
as you stood where ground turned to ocean: no way
to your future now but the way your shadow could take,
walking before you across water, going where shadows go,
no way to make sense of a world that wouldn't let you pass
except to call an end to the way you had come,
to take out each frayed letter you brought
and light their illumined corners, and to read
them as they drifted through the western light;
to empty your bags; to sort this and to leave that;
to promise what you needed to promise all along,
and to abandon the shoes that had brought you here
right at the water's edge, not because you had given up
but because now, you would find a different way to tread,
and because, through it all, part of you could still walk on,
no matter how, over the waves.
— David Whyte