. . . So cannot travel to Red Cloud this year. Has been forced to give up a lot. Enclosed is a request from the Carnegie Corporation [the letter invited Cather to represent the United States on the Permanent Committee on Arts and Letters of the League of Nations], which she declined; it would be too exhausting. Suggested that Mr. Keppel invite Thornton Wilder instead, and Wilder agreed. Wilder is fluent in French and Italian and is both scholarly and gregarious. Keep this quiet. Would like Wilder to think he was the top pick. Tell Carrie and Mary, however. Hopes Red Cloud won't have too much heat and that Elsie will enjoy another summer there. Hopes Elsie will use check to pay for household help. Likes the nieces very much and will write more about them soon. Also loved Mary Creighton's wonderful letters. Willie
No, is not the author of the introduction to the McClure's publication of Miss Milmine's book [The Life of Mary Baker G. Eddy, first published in McClure's January 1907 through June 1908]. Only started working on it after the introduction and the first part appeared in the magazine. Did it only because Mr. McClure asked her to. Will not release a statement, as it will only inspire unwanted correspondence. Why does this unimportant editorial work continue to be a burden to her? Willa Cather
Will not be able to contribute much to her thesis, as she does not think about her characters in such a way. Disdains terms fancied by many English instructors, like "contacted" and "motivation," as books based upon a writer's technical plan are dreary to read. Among the many writers she knows, none of them conceive their works by determining how one character will respond to another; instead, the writer is taken with an idea and needs to give it voice. Characters cohabit a story because it seems inevitable to the writer that they should, not because of some kind of calculated response. Is mailing a copy of the truthful report she wrote about how she conceived of Death Comes for the Archbishop ["A Letter from Willa Cather to the Editor of the Commonweal," Commonweal 7 (November 27, 1927): 713]. All great writers do this: they write to express passion or outrage, something heartfelt and unplanned. It is too bad that teachers convince students that books are an elaborate scheme, when they are something much more extraordinary: a deep expression of the author's caring and joy.