March 2, 2020
My family discovered your books about 20 years ago, when my grandmother, a library volunteer, gave us a box of discarded library books, and one of them was Borgel. I’ve always had mixed feelings about this: I can’t applaud the library’s decision, but it did put us in touch with your writing, which we’ve enjoyed ever since.
What I wanted to tell you was how I discovered Bear’s Picture. This was at the library of a big prestigious art school that will remain nameless, with big impressive buildings and mostly lousy teachers. Everyone was expected to draw exactly the same way, and at the same skill level. I was not up to the level of the “A” students, and the teachers did not want to bother with me. So I got fed up and quit. I’m teaching myself to draw now (though I’m still fed up), and trying to make sense of things.
Enough about me. I just wanted to say that it was ironic to find Bear’s Picture at that school, and that I found it when I probably needed it most. I’m glad you wrote it.
For that matter, I’m glad you wrote all your other books.
So, thank you.
P.S. One last thing: you should know that the first sentence of The Education of Robert Nifkin is one of the best first sentences ever written.
I think one can learn how to make art, but it seems hardly possible that it can be taught, anyway in school setting. It's too personal a thing, and it's too much to hope that a bunch of people can march into a classroom and find a teacher there who has something to say to each, or any, of them. Probably getting chased out of the prestigious art school was the best thing that could have happened to you. That, and finding my book.