Truth & Beauty, cover of Ann Patchett’s Truth & Beauty, Minneapolis, Minnesota, September 2008, all photos © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.
It’s been a long couple of weeks. Sometimes it feels like the world’s gone mad. Where do you go to find ground? Go to what soothes you. For me it is my practices. One of those practices is gratitude.
When I was thinking of what I wanted to post at week’s end, I returned to our Poetry & Meditation group of a few weeks ago. After Robert Frost, homemade rhubarb cookies, and chamomile tea, I asked Teri if I could take another look at her postcard from Ann Patchett.
See the hardcover of Truth & Beauty, the one with the box and the egg? Well, there’s another cover, a paperback, with an illustration of a grasshopper and an ant. Teri wrote to Ann, thanked her for her work, and asked — why two covers? And what’s the meaning behind the box and the egg?
Ann wrote back.
Here’s what she said:
Sorry to be so slow in answering your question about the cover of Truth & Beauty. I had nothing to do with it but I like it a lot. I think you’re right — fragile egg, protective box = Lucy + me, but I like the fact that it’s open to interpretation. It’s a cover that makes you think instead of being an illustration. Also, I love the paperback cover of the grasshopper and ant.
Thanks for reading!
I read the postcard again, turned the handwriting over in my hands, and felt immense gratitude at Patchett’s willingness to give back to a fellow writer. Perhaps it’s a small thing. But I don’t think so. She probably gets hundreds of postcards. A writer’s time is valuable. She didn’t have to write back.
And so, it is with gratitude I end the week. On one of those Fridays when I’m sure the world has gone insane, I’m happy to express my appreciation for one of the writers who came before us. And raise a glass to a few moments of peace.
We are big fans of Ann Patchett on red Ravine. To read more about this accomplished author, check out these posts:
- The Ant & The Grasshopper – Ann Patchett & Lucy Grealy — in-depth essay on Truth & Beauty, Autobiography of a Face, and the symbolism behind the Ant and the Grasshopper, including a beautiful pen and ink color illustration
- Ann Patchett – On Truth, Beauty, & The Adventures Of “Opera Girl” — notes and photographs from an evening with Ann Patchett at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul, Minnesota
- Book Talk – Do You Let Yourself Read? — discussion of literature, books, and reading, along with photographs of the paperback Ant and Grasshopper cover of Truth & Beauty
- The Parking Is Free — short excerpt from Truth & Beauty: A Friendship
Post Script: Is there anything you’re grateful for this week? It helps me to make a list (the little things count the most). Gratitude to Teri for sharing her postcard with us. And for taking the risk of writing it. It was almost exactly a year ago (October 16th, 2007) when we sat in the Fitzgerald Theater together to hear Ann speak.
It’s been my experience that many famous writers are generous with their time and energy, and encouraging to fledgling, up-and-coming writers. If you have a favorite writer or poet, maybe you’ll want to take a chance — write to them. You might one day open your mailbox to a pleasant surprise.
Truth & Beauty II, Handwriting, cover of Truth & Beauty, postcard from Ann Patchett, Minneapolis, Minnesota, September 2008, all photos © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.
-posted on red Ravine, Friday, October 3rd, 2008