Wednesday, January 27, 2010

View through the mist of time

It is quite easy to escape the boundaries of time when in a wilderness. Look up and see no trace of aircraft; listen and hear only the sounds of nature. It also is possible to walk down a street or to enter a building and to experience the same sensation, the same feeling, the same reality, the absolute actuality of having been and done and met and known before.

Once upon a time there was a letter

It amazes and puzzles me how a few back and forth words .... can set me on my way toward rediscovery of past pleasures in life.

Those are words I wrote a few days ago, and the same thing has happened to me again -- all ready -- only in a slightly different manner. I read a post about letters written during World War II by a well-known writer, Iris Murdock. The first thing -- or, rather, the first person -- who entered my mind was a not-so-well-known writer, Mildred Aldrich. She wrote letters, too, mostly of a different sort than those by Iris, during World War I.

Mildred was a school teacher, a newspaper reporter and a woman who began her own literary magazine dedicated to photography, music, acting, books and other arts. She left the United States in 1898 to take up residency in France for the remainder of her life.

In France, Mildred worked as a translator, made friends with literary types such as Gertrude Stein and wrote a few books of her own. I encountered her, I am almost hesitant to say, because of her association with World War I and my own interest in the study of warfare -- warfare then, now and forevermore.

Here, for you, if you are at all interested, is a brief moment with Mildred, while I take leave to quietly slip away into the mist of Neverland:

A Hilltop on the Marne

By Mildred Aldrich

Being Letters Written
June 3-September 8, 1914

June 3, 1914

Well, the deed is done. I have not wanted to talk with you much about it until I was here. I know all your objections. You remember that you did not spare me when, a year ago, I told you that this was my plan. I realize that you -- more active, younger, more interested in life, less burdened with your past -- feel that it is cowardly on my part to seek a quiet refuge and settle myself into it, to turn my face peacefully to the exit, feeling that the end is the most interesting event ahead of me -- the one truly interesting experience left to me in this incarnation.

I am not proposing to ask you to see it from my point of view. You cannot, no matter how willing you are to try. No two people ever see life from the same angle. There is a law which decrees that two objects may not occupy the same place at the same time -- result: two people cannot see things from the same point of view, and the slightest difference in angle changes the thing seen.


Anonymous said...

What a great writer Mildred Aldrich

Polly said...

I'm glad the Iris post inspired you. I must say I've never heard of Mildred Aldrich but she sounds very interesting. Very poetic letters and you're right, very different to those written by Murdoch.

Fram Actual said...

Greetings, Anita ....
My opinion is that Mildred was a very wise and forthright woman, in addition to being a great writer. Thank you, for your visit, and remember, Spring will be here before long.

Fram Actual said...

Greetings, Polly ....
More often than not, posts such as your own about Iris set my mind wandering and searching for "landmarks" I can identify with and for comparisons to my own life experiences.

Actually, I do not recall ever reading anything written by Iris, but I think I will now to see if it leads anywhere.

Something special ....