Henry In His Own Words: Double Capricorn, Desert Philosopher and Authentically Interesting Person – Part 4

Henry on relationships:
Letter to Toombs May 6 1959

“… Sorry to hear of your son’s unsuccessful marriage. However, I think your attitude towards the experience indicates motherly wisdom. My daughter and her husband both have hot tempers and bad dispositions. Neither of them believes in divorce, but they have some terrible disturbances at times. When I see either of them in a bad mood and the possibility of trouble, I excuse myself and go elsewhere. My motto is peace at any price. I try to love everyone and will make most any sacrifice to avoid an altercation.

Letter to “Spencer” May 18 1954

“… Hermits are peaceful and live in complete harmony but it is an unnatural life, and I have come to believe that to be at ones best, one should meet and talk to lots of people…”

Letter to “Zale” February 6th 1961

“…. I have always thought that men had the advantage in view of the fact that they can do the asking. About all a woman can do is accept or run away. And as to the lady, things often work out that way. Many people are perfect companions during the day but turn into monsters at home. That is why they say that you never know someone until you have lived with them. Camping or traveling together is also a good way to get to know both sides of a person…”

“… People should know each other thoroughly before thinking of marriage. It is better to be single than to get into a mess. To really be a good companion one must have achieved the Christian principle of trying always to make others happy, and to think of the welfare of his or her companions before his own. The trouble is that usually one person imposes on the good nature of the other.”

And on addiction:

Letter to my mother August 8th 1956
“…I was very proud to announce that Xxxxx has quit smoking. He must never start again. If he does, it will be much harder for him to quit again. The smoking habit is like tying a wicked giant with cord string. Every time you bind him with another string he has less chance to escape. One string does not make much difference (like one more cigarette) but when enough of them are applied he is helpless to break them. It is the same with cigarettes, one does not seem important, but each one binds the person that much tighter, and every day it becomes increasingly harder for him to break the habit. Cigarettes not only take a lot of money, they are bound to affect the health in time.”

~ pictured: Henry building his last house, for himself. He’s about 70 years old there.

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Catch up here – Henry in his own words…

13 thoughts on “Henry In His Own Words: Double Capricorn, Desert Philosopher and Authentically Interesting Person – Part 4”

  1. Marly, are you sure about that?
    Aren’t all these blogs, comments, online messenger texts, emails…really a different, newer, form of writing a letter?
    Our thoughts are written and sent to real people, maybe not on paper as before the net, but nevertheless, they are shared.
    I think we are all writing more than ever.

  2. Blogs and email bring out a different prose style, imo. I see it as a combination of speaking and writing. Plus, they’re not as durable, unless one prints them out, and not everyone prints their emails or blog entries. Stuff that’s on digital media is not as accessible to future generations, ironically enough, bc the technology to read it and produce it changes so fast that it becomes obsolete fairly soon. When’s the last time you opened a floppy disk and read its contents? There’s also a sensuality to writing longhand that is missing from this medium: the smell of the ink, the feel of the paper under one’s hand, the ability to trace one’s hands over what one has written. That is a huge thing when it comes to letters too: the idea that someone loved touched this very same paper you’re touching now. All of that makes letter-writing very different from emails. Plus, a lot of people write much more telegraphically in email. People blab more and express their opinions more via this newer medium but I find that a lot of it devolves into just plain old criticism of people. So, yes, I stand by what I said.

  3. I didn’t say that people didn’t WRITE as much as they did back then. I was talking specifically about letter-writing, as you can see in my first comment. There’s something extra special to getting a letter in the snail mail.

  4. I, too, was not thinking of just writing, but about…letter writing. I agree the feel of the paper is missing but then the speed of delivery sort of makes up for that. The ‘packing’ may be different but what’s inside is more important. Funny that you view it as just plain old criticism of people.
    I am reminded more of journals.

  5. When I see either of them in a bad mood and the possibility of trouble, I excuse myself and go elsewhere. My motto is peace at any price. I try to love everyone and will make most any sacrifice to avoid an altercation.

    Elsa, I’d been wondering for a long time, plus the above bit makes me wonder again, did Henry have strong Libra/Venus/7th??

  6. I agree with Marly. Handwritten letters are beautiful objects themselves: the folded paper, the handwriting style, the colour of the ink etc. Then in the letter you get a memento of that person’s being, at that point in time.

    A sadge friend recently showed me a letter I had written him when I was overseas at 17. I was embarrassed, but he loved it and had kept it through 4 moves and 7 years.

    I always think about the elderly when I see those Henry posts. I watched my Nan trim down her life: house to flat, flat to geriatric ward, giving away her things as she went. She’s demented now, but she never gave away her old letters and photos. I actually think that those collections are a dignified record of a life and wonder what my generation will leave behind. Comments about celebrities on Go Fug Yourself?

  7. “Funny that you view it as just plain old criticism of people.”

    No, I don’t just view it as that. But a lot of it devolves into that, especially when the writer is addressing strangers. I think Toni gets what I’m saying: that you’re leaving something behind as a memento and with email, unless you print it, it’s stuck in your computer, inaccessible to future generations–or to yourself if you don’t have access to wifi.

  8. …and paper letters you stuff in a box……and just the same..why not print or burn a disk with writings you cherish and also put them in a box?
    Marly, you stated your opinion; I stated mine and I have no wish to argue.
    I commented because, weirdly, the other day, I had been talking about this subject with someone here.
    I was not thinking of writings to strangers. I prefer to write to people I know and I was thinking of emails and messages to friends, close friends that have spread all over the globe. About writing similar stuff as what Henry wrote; advice and thoughts and opinions and feelings.
    Tony said it right- “a letter I had written him when I was overseas”.
    But I AM overseas! I stayed behind in a country that has gone through a lot of transformations providing me with a lot of other materials to write about besides criticizing or plain gossip. And I had stopped writing because snail mail took so long…sometimes more than 2 weeks…and by the time my friends read it, it would be old.
    The net, in a way ‘liberated me’. It made it possible for me to stay close with my friends and family.
    I agree that the old stationary was great for memories. I still buy some when it catches my eye even though I won’t be using it, but I don’t think of it as being a prerequisite for writing.

  9. i like what he says about hermits… i have an excessive desire to go disappear into the hinterlands and avoid people… and it’s good to consider how that can stifle development… it’s hard to exist without other people to reflect and refract our energy with…

  10. Avatar
    mark mike mays

    your grandpy was a great hermit, a gypsy, like the character alibaba saluja from the anime magi. i am also born under the angel of fatigue and i have sickle cell trait. haha. but i think the iron deficiency or whatever gives me more carbon which helps with inflamation cause we take more damage but have parasite resistance. tons of microinfractions from not living pure. knowing something is wrong, dumping every bad habit until you’re enlightened some day, too good to feel real, so you take a decent into the abyss more. spirituality is addicting. i want to be the shaman king.

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