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#2471: Carbon Copy of Letter from Willa Cather to Clifton Fadiman, May 14, 1938

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My dear Mr. Fadiman1:

I have just returned from a month in the West and South and find your letter inviting me to contribute to the Second Series of LIVING PHILOSOPHIES3. I appreciate your courtesy in asking me to add my name to the [missing] very distinguished ones4 you quote. I would like to oblige5 both you and the editors of The Nation6, but I am in the middle of a piece of work7 which I am very unwilling to interrupt. I am never very successful in stating my personal beliefs or opinions. As soon as I see them in type, I realize that I have changed a good many of these opinions since I last saw them written in ink. Even in such casual papers as those which made up NOT UNDER FORTY8, I overstated myself in some instances and understated myself in others. When impressions and sympathies which are perfectly genuine are stated as opinions, they seem to take on a false solemnity and pretentiousness. Editorial writing is a left-handed performance with me, and if I took the time to write for you and Miss Kirchwey9 an article which I would not immediately regret, it would interrupt too much the book I now have in hand.

Very sincerely yours, Willa Cather