信札

1958年,斯坦贝克(John Steinbeck)14岁的儿子在寄宿学校爱上了一个女孩,他写信给父母倾诉苦恼,这是斯坦贝克的回信(来源):

New York
November 10, 1958

Dear Thom:

We had your letter this morning. I will answer it from my point of view and of course Elaine will from hers.

First — if you are in love — that’s a good thing — that’s about the best thing that can happen to anyone. Don’t let anyone make it small or light to you.

Second — There are several kinds of love. One is a selfish, mean, grasping, egotistical thing which uses love for self-importance. This is the ugly and crippling kind. The other is an outpouring of everything good in you — of kindness and consideration and respect — not only the social respect of manners but the greater respect which is recognition of another person as unique and valuable. The first kind can make you sick and small and weak but the second can release in you strength, and courage and goodness and even wisdom you didn’t know you had.

You say this is not puppy love. If you feel so deeply — of course it isn’t puppy love.

But I don’t think you were asking me what you feel. You know better than anyone. What you wanted me to help you with is what to do about it — and that I can tell you.

Glory in it for one thing and be very glad and grateful for it.

The object of love is the best and most beautiful. Try to live up to it.

If you love someone — there is no possible harm in saying so — only you must remember that some people are very shy and sometimes the saying must take that shyness into consideration.

Girls have a way of knowing or feeling what you feel, but they usually like to hear it also.

It sometimes happens that what you feel is not returned for one reason or another — but that does not make your feeling less valuable and good.

Lastly, I know your feeling because I have it and I’m glad you have it.

We will be glad to meet Susan. She will be very welcome. But Elaine will make all such arrangements because that is her province and she will be very glad to. She knows about love too and maybe she can give you more help than I can.

And don’t worry about losing. If it is right, it happens — The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away.

Love,

Fa

1990年,冯内古特(Kurt Vonnegut)的一名读者,36岁的玛丽安失去了丈夫,只剩下她和三个孩子。她写信给冯内古特,感谢他的书,她没有想到作者竟会回信(来源):

Nov. 30 ’90

Dearest Marianne Brown —

It can’t be said often enough, “It is the woman who pays.” The miracle is that so many can and do somehow. I was in love (still am) with a widow with four kids (two not her own). She somehow raised them all on a teeny weeny salary. I told her one time, “I worry about women.” She said, “Don’t.”

Cheers —

(Signed)

Kurt Vonnegut

无论在怎样的年代,读和写令我们认识爱,度过艰辛。

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