From correspondence:

As to women, I not only see that their feelings are shifting and that you can never trust constancy, but I see this in myself too. I meet women I think I cannot live without, and mostly I have to live completely without them, but in the rare case where you are admitted to her court yard, and you know her better, you find that you yourself has changed — to nothing or to a new mate. And sometimes you feel that you have a thousand, all at the same time, and it makes you dizzy. But by the right words you may keep them devoted, constant, and at a relatively safe distance.

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4 April 1980
Dear S.,
Your beautiful spring greeting reached me and embraced me and thrilled me.  Here in California we have spring and winter and summer fifty times a year, up-and-down, in-and-out, blending into each other making everybody crazy, including the skiers who shoosh down from the San Bernardino mountains, change quickly into shorts while negotiating the lower part of the hills, then diving into the pacific at Santa Monica, skis and all, the skkiing [sic] now being water skiiiiiiing.  Isn’t it much better to live in solid, conservative Toronto where a winter is a winter, a spring a spring and a summer a summer – sault?
How is G.?  Summersaulting in the Swiss alps? Or cauterwailing in Toronto?  As a minister said a wedding in Norway “Well, I bless the couple of course, but why had the groom gone all the way to Aalesund, three miles away, when there were so many worthy maidens ready here in Kristiansund, even among his next-door-neighbors?”
Yes or no, aren’t humans strange and fidgety?  Why not indeed?  And when I married, the minister looked furiously at me and barked “How do I know that this marriage will last???” You dummy, thought I, but aloud I said “Oh well, Evelyn is so steadfast and loving so…” Shot back the cleric: “I dinna ask ye to tell me about how ye think Evelyn may be.  What about yarself, ya hoodlum??” To which I answered nothing.  What do I know about this “self?” But it lasted at least until now, 33 years.  Not bad, eh? So was he wrong that minister? His suspicions were wrong, voicing them was wronger.  Not his business.  Even though he was in good faith, but dumb faith.

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Life and/or Death

14 March 1980
Dear ____,
On a gloomy threateningly cloudy day your “clear crystal” words lifted me up above the clouds to where light always shines .. yes yes, true, life and death belong together.  If you deny one, you deny the other.  Like twin sisters, you accept both or none.  I love you,  ___, with the passion of sun, moon the stars (planets or otherwise ) and .. passion-love, life and/or death…
Shamcher, Bryn, whatever

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