“I would be glad if it was felt that I have done something generally useful. I don’t care much about personal fame or popularity. I would be satisfied with the feeling that I had a chance to help with something in general, something good. That history gave me that chance.” —Vaclav Havel
I’d say beyond useful.
When I heard the news, I went in search of my copy of Open Letters: Selected Writing, 1965 – 1990. I couldn’t find it. Still can’t. Not only is it not next to The Golden Notebook next to Bukowski next to Auden’s Collected Poems next to A Heartbreaking Work Of Staggering Genius next to the Brontes next to The Odyssey next to The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo next to Dylan Thomas next to Savage Beauty next to Toni Morrison’s Love, but it is also, perplexingly, not next to Woolf’s essays and letters next to Sylvia Plath’s unabridged jounals next to The Bell Jar next to Anne Carson next to Symborzka’s Miracle Fair next to everything Anne Sexton next to everything Elizabeth Bishop next to Dr. Spock, a battered Fear Of Flying paperback on top of the filed. Where, where is my Havel? In a fit of exasperation, desperation I even checked my Middle Grade and Young Adult shelves and my son’s picture book collection. Not there! This cannot be a home without some things Havel. I move off to Amazon and my Prime free shipping and here to read and remember a man who should have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. I wish he could have stayed for another 20 years.
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