Saul Bellow to Joanna Newsom

As so often happens, 24 hours after blogging about Joanna Newsom’s “Good Intentions Paving Company,” I read this:

I thought to do some good by giving an interview to PeopleI, which was exceedingly foolish of me. I asked Aaron [Asher] to tell you that the Good Intentions Paving Company had fucked up again.

From The New Yorker, that was Saul Bellow writing to Philip Roth, 26 years ago. The series of letters, all written by Bellow, are only for subscribers, but would be worth your while. I found myself struck by how open the letters were. Do people send e-mails like this? I suppose they might. To Cynthia Ozick:

I have become such a solitary, and not in the Aristotelian sense: not a beast, not a god. Rather, a loner troubled by longings, incapable of finding a suitable language and despairing at the impossibility of composing messages in a playable key – as if I no longer understood the codes used by the estimable people who wanted to hear from me and would have so much to reply if only the impediments were taken away.

There was also this, to Roth again:

I’m afraid there’s nothing we can do about the journalists; we can only hope that they will die off as the deerflies to towards the end of August.

So true!


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