Aug.. 13  87

Dear Faye Wattleton ,
     Enclosed is a check my mother sent me for my 60th birthday. I'm in a wheelchair (c..-palsied from a birth injury), never had a regular job or earned income (except for 3 or 4 checks from magazines these past 36 yrs and mag..s, letters and bks galore out of the blue). So I sure feel unable to keep any one thing for long, feel spread out thin     spreadeagled.
     I'd say not to waste postage on mailing appeals to the president, cockeyed optimist to the extent that he really seems to be, an entertaining fellow like Sinatra, Liberace, George Burns, P.. Domingo, I.. Stern, I.. Perlman, Baker, Falwell...andmyself at times.
                                                     (I've heard Helen Caldecott describe her meeting
with RR and in the last week or two Studs Terkel's interview with the author of Reagan's America Innocent at Home, which, it appears, might also be subtitled, optimism and an aphorism over all. Well, when optimism and realism don't go together at all, or in some way, humanity stops.) And a media shouting match or debate looks to be futile enough--more mere confrontation. Although let's hope not.
          Oh well. It's quite a wonder Man has come thus far. Quit  It's a humpty Dumpty World. The piece on theother side, here, you might somehow enjoy seeing or even find some use for
     Ok to send it along to the White House with the petitions if you like. (Or a copy of it.) I suppose it'll get shredded.
                                    yours     Larry Eigner


                  from Child Life, vol. 19, no. 1, Jan 1940
            (an earlier piece appeared in the Oct. '38 issue)

                      In through the Window

     The short, flat nose of a feline wedges itself into the
crack beneath the window. It bears upwards as the opening slowly
widens. At last the space is wide enough to allow a full-sized
cat to enter. It stealthily crawls through the space, and leaps
to the floor. It is Spotty the family cat, who after finding
himself too impatient to linger about at the door, has begun to
copy the window-breakers way of doing things.
     If the window is closed, he presses his nose against the
pane, which eventually attracts our attention. We open the back
door and, with the flexibility of a serpent, he slips into the

                                                              LAURENCE JOEL EIGNER
Age 11                                                                               Canton, Mass.

                   POSTCARD TO "FOCUS ON RISK"

                                   Aug.. 21    86

    I would like to have the SCIENCE '85 with the
 article on risk in it, although I may not be
  up to taking it in much.  I've just heard its
  author talking with Cokie Roberts, a dialogue that
  went by too fast for me. (I fell asleep on some of
  it, shutting my eyes to listen better.)    I've
 often heard your fine radio programs and enjoyed
  them, and so many others on NPR (KALW, San
  Francisco Unified School District radio station.)
 Even though the more I go through the more I  for-
get for one thing, c.. palsy prevents my taking notes
 And I'm unfocused. How few things should anyone
  focus on and how many can anybody ??? Life puzzles
  (And one article on probability I've seen involves
  Gaussian curves - I had to give it up.)
   Thank you however things are         Larry Eigner

   [ a page--all that's left--from an essay of Larry's —BF]


                              I n s t i t u t i o n

might as well be clear about it. It's never as complete or as

continuing a community as people may have, have had in the past,

with their neighbors. The best thing a magazine can be is a

letter of the highest caliber, or roundrobin, inducing a reply of

some sort, or response. Ezra Pound was quoted: "magazine saves me

the labor of copying 17 times"--which reflects the historic

origins of the little mag at that."--and anyone can join in." So

maybe an editor should never bother very much about reading "the

highest possible number" of readers.* One of the speakers talked

of the inactivity of the audience: We don't make judgements, we

just make choices, just turn our backs on something we don't

like, and take up something else. But High Kenner said he had no

patience with the great majority of literary magazines, and when

he was asked why he wrote for them then, he said it was because

he hoped to improve them. Well, often men go by in the street

when I would like to try and talk to them about something. And

Marianne Moore said, to wind up the whole conference--within the

last two or three minutes this was--it was a matter of being in

good company. "I would not submit to an editor I despised."

     So the Fund idea would seem to be quite a puzzle.**


*    It's worth keeping in mind that "80% of the important
     writers since 1912" got started in, and most of these still
     find themselves exclusively in, the little magazines--this
     mentioned a number of times after it was first cited out of
     a coauthored book whose authors and exact title I missed.
     And the vital has always developed in relatively small, at
     least independent groups. There is certainly more to reading
     and writing, often, than there can be in stamp collecting,
     or playing checkers down at recreation centers. or even

**   No finances were discussed, as one man noted out of the
     audience the last night. Most editors in attendance were
     reluctant to reveal circulation and other figures in the
     closed sessions. I wonder why.

                                                                                                       —Larry Eigner

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