Dear Sterling:—

Anything sourish is best for my liver; but in the Volsteadian age most anything goes.

I didn't make my meaning clear in the matter of "small town" fiction. What I object to is the assumption that there is a distinct small town mind. I say that is a fiction. What is mistaken for the small town mind may be found anywhere. There was once a rural type of mind, but it's been shot all to hell by newspapers, magazines, movies, autos, telephones, rural routes etc.

I wish to God I could review in the sea with you. I want to learn some practical things from you, and I know you could teach me. Do you find fresh-water swimming much more difficult than salt-water swimming? Also, I'd probably have a hell of a good time in salt water, for fresh water is all I know, and it seems pretty easy.

How did you manage to write a poem of that length without getting at least one "goose in the [boat?]"? Mighty good poetry too. What Powys said of "Lilith" doesn't strike me as funny at all. I believe he's right. Your stuff stands a mighty good show of surviving for two reasons, excellent reasons.

I've been reading too much along with my other work, & day before yesterday I went to pieces. Thought it was "flu", but it was stomach, bowels, nerves, eye-strain. I read 12 books in 7 days besides writing reviews & working on "The Indian Wars". Am a bit wobbly yet today, but I'm coming around & getting my tail up again.

Always yours,


Don't gather from what I said that I think I'm some swimmer. I'm just a fair dub, doing what I do easily; but dozens of youngsters here are better than I am. I can do less with the breast stroke than with any other, except the crawl which I don't know well. The over-arm side stroke seems to me the fastest, most powerful. The Trudgen is nice for a change, but it tires me sooner than the side overarm.

Did you ever hear of "web-hands" for swimmers? I got the idea this summer. Works too. Adds power to stroke.