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Many thanks for Colby Cosh’s excellent March 26th review of Florence King’s Stet, Damnit! He wonderfully captured a bit of her tone in his appreciation, and it always is a happy occasion to hear of another fan of Miss King’s work and read another sound encouragement for others to discover the depth of her brilliance, both technical in the craft, and observational in selective cultural commentary.
Cosh noted the “King cult” and provided example members as writers and his known “female King devotees aged 75 and 25.” Would you believe another cell of the cult is gay Southern males? Both conservative and otherwise? I once passed a particularly pleasant evening (not for the reasons you think, happily married thank you. Old friend’s dinner party, doncha know), in the company of such a cell, where the entire evening’s conversation was the “divine” Florence King. We all hurled quotes and recollections around the table, and pulled her books open — ready at hand on nearby shelves — to settle arguments. When I asked the obvious question why so many Southern gay males knew about her work, and knew it so well I was met with blank stares and shrugs all around. “We just all read her, and everyone I know has read her.” It was one of the few pieces of empirical evidence I’ve ever encountered that there really is a gay culture distinct from the typical American.
Once upon a time I wrote Miss King a note, asking her a few questions, trifles really. I also, like Cosh, feared she would “snicker” at me if I made an error. You can imagine my astonishment and delight when I received a reply in her own hand, answering my questions in a tone so friendly I nearly wept with joy. She even made an aside that she envied my living in France (her only erroneous view, but another subject). Needless to say, this correspondence now is a treasure.
But Cosh’s review also had a bittersweet quality, for his defense of her leave-taking does not satisfy. “Really it’s no wonder she quit.” Yes, but we miss her just the same. Horribly, painfully, for parting is a taste of death, and it tears at the heart, and reminds us of hell.
One’s instinct is to gush, grovel, and beg her to write more. But knowing she would have contempt for the weakness, we politely acquiesce to the lady’s wish to retire, and instead withdraw to shed a furtive tear.
But oh dear Lord, how we miss her.
Dear Editor, isn’t there something you can do? Please?
And Miss King, if you should perhaps read this, please recall that I remain alwaysp>Your obedient servant, br> — James N. Ward br> Paris, France /p>
I read with great interest the Cosh review of Ms. King’s latest offering the compilation of her Misanthrope columns. As one who is within 12 months of being the same age of Ms. King, as one that grew up in the same area (Ms. King in NW Washington and I a block over the line from NW Washington in Maryland), as one that appreciated Ms. King’s many descriptions of her family and realizing the many similarities with my own (particularly at the Grandmother level), as one who recognizes and celebrates the similarities of life philosophy in each of us, I have been in almost constant mourning since the time of her retirement. I could have dealt with that eventually, but her relocation to the Northwest from Virginia has been altogether too much to handle.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?