Why do I like this letter so much?It was written by my hero, EB.White, to a man teetering on the brink of despair.
As long as there is one upright man, as long as there is one compassionate woman, the contagion may spread and the scene is not desolate. Hope is the thing that is left to us, in a bad time. I shall get up Sunday morning and wind the clock, as a contribution to order and steadfastness.
Sailors have an expression about the weather: they say, the weather is a great bluffer. I guess the same is true of our human society – things can look dark, then a break shows in the clouds, and all is changed, sometimes rather suddenly. It is quite obvious that the human race has made a queer mess of life on this planet. But as a people we probably harbor seeds of goodness that have lain for a long time waiting to sprout when the conditions are right. Man’s curiosity, his relentlessness, his inventiveness, his ingenuity have led him into deep trouble. We can only hope that these same traits will enable him to claw his way out.
Hang on to your hat. Hang on to your hope. And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day.
E. B. White
Says it all. I have nothing to add. Just an observation: sometimes children’s authors get dismissed by the literati as lesser mortals because we write ‘for kids’. Because we tell a story with a beginning a middle and an end. We make it look easy. Simple.
As all those who write ‘for kids’ know: simplicity is the most complicated thing to create.