I was at the mall today, waiting for Sol to finish service when I saw books on sale. After a bit of browsing (controlling the urge to get everything, or at least everything I wanted), I ran across "The Elements of Lavishness" a book of the letters of Sylvia Townsend Warner and William Maxwell.

I am always on the lookout for books of good letters. Or good books of letters. When I opened the book to a random page I saw, from Warner to Maxwell,

I am thankful that Emmy is back. In her absence you do not spell as well as at other times. Does she know this? It is a delightful tribute, she should wear it in a brooch.

That made the decision. Now that I have the time to walk through it more slowly, there is, from Maxwell to Warner,

The personal correspondence of writers feeds on left-over energy. There is also the element of lavishness, of enjoying the fact that they are throwing away one of their better efforts, for the chances of any given letter's surviving is fifty-fifty, at most. And there is the element of confidence - of the relaxed backhand stroke that can place the ball anywhere that it pleases the writer to have it go.

I don't doubt that there is depth here. More of sentiment, probably, and affection, than, oh, philosophy or science. This is going to be a great source of pleasure. And after a few months of savoring, I'll give it away :-).

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