21 September 2015

[liff] The ZKT Mailroom: What Jim Horwitz Sent Me

This is another thing I've been holding back for a while, and once again I am remiss; I think a public thank you is in order for this man.

Jim Horwitz draws Watson, a comic which is has fierce fans, of which I am one. Sometimes it seems that Jim is as much of a fan of his fans as his fans are of him. I've come to know him as a correspondent with an incredibly generous heart.

Last year, he sent me a book that was important to him, and I've grown to love it too. It's this:

It's Helen DeWitt's The Last Samurai.  It tells of the journey of a young, preternaturally intelligent boy being raised by a single mom and in search of his father. It speaks to genius, the creative process, the restorative power of art. It's also a fiercely-good piece of fiction, provided to me at a time when I was growing out of being just a genre reader and falling in love with the idea of literature at large, its power to create little words that are very very real as we need them.

I'll be reading this again soon, between books on writing and creativity and Pynchon and Proust, because I have a feeling that it hasn't delivered its full message to me. A great novel, I've found, is that way, just like a favorite movie, it's a flower that opens a little more with each reading.

Jim wrote a personal message to me on one of the pages. I won't share it now; it's that personal to me, but I never took the opportunity to thank him for sending it my way, just the right thing at just the right time … how he knew it, I don't know.

But he knew.

I won't share the message, but I keep this post-it on the page facing:

Watson should be a guide to everyone trying to find their way … as I still am.

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