ithoughtofhimreadingit

Whenever I thought of something to write, I immediately thought of his reading it, and the thought of this man, William Shawn, reading something I had written only made me want to write it more; I could see him sitting (not in any particular place) and reading what I had written and telling me if he liked it, or never mentioning it again if he didn’t , and the point wasn’t to hear him say that he like it (though it was better than anything in the whole world) but only to know that he had read it, and why that should have been so is beyond words to me right now, or just to put into words now (and it was only through words that I knew him) would make it either true, or incomplete, like love, I suppose; why do I love you, why do you love me? Almost all of my life as a writer, everything I wrote I expected Mr. Shawn to read, and so when I first heard of my brother dying and immediately knew I would write about him, I thought of Mr. Shawn, but Mr. Shawn had just died too. And so I wrote about the dead for the dead, and all along as I was writing I thought, When I am done with this I shall never write for Mr. Shawn again, this will be the end of anything I shall write for Mr. Shawn; but now I don’t suppose that will be so.

For a very long time I had the perfect reader for what I would write and place in the unscathed books; the course of the books has not died, it only comes alive again and again in different forms and other segments. The perfect reader has died, but I cannot see any reason not to write for him, anyway, for I can sooner get used to never hearing from him, the perfect reader, than to not being able to write for him at all.