Time and Words

We have gained much with instant communication, but have lost the intimate and unique mark of the individual.

Gail Chumbley


Written records have provided a wealth of information for my book, River of January.  It’s rather interesting that I have carefully read and analyzed these letters composed in ink and soft lead, and they have taken me into vibrant lives, flowing with adventure and color.  So much feeling lives in those envelopes–devotion, pain, fear, reassurance all scribed into hand written correspondence.

A character in the story, Elie Gelaki, a Belgian boy who pines for Helen, produced volumes of letters and postcards.  Just picking up a handful of his letters are vivid proof of his perpetual love.  Helen’s letters to her mother bear updates, stories, and news (and promises of money) filling 4 plastic containers.  I can see that her mother was important to her, just by looking at her blizzard of correspondence.  In the same vein, Chum’s letters to Helen, are steeped in longing, with loving language that…

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