Thursday, July 25, 2002
1955 Strathisla

If I could afford it, I would send you a bottle, in thanks for the pleasure your work has given me. I just read the poem "Locks" for the first time today; no words are adequate for the physical shock of pleasure/pain/sorrow I felt reading it. The changing emotions are like the complex interplay of flavors and aftertastes of the whisky, now that I come to think of it.

What I can do, however, is send you the phone number of the Strathisla Distillery: 01542-783044. If they don't have a bottle or two tucked away, you may be able to buy one through or

God only knows what the complexities of mailing a bottle of whisky into the US may be; James Thurber wrote an account of the lengthy and painful process of claiming and paying excise on a bottle of liqueur some friends had sent him from France. OTOH, you're going to be in Scotland fairly soon yourself. I would never suggest smuggling such a thing through customs, but bringing a bottle or two home might not be a bad idea.

Thank you for your writing. I came to your work unpardonably late, but I'm making up for lost time. You don't need me to tell you that your novels are getting surer and more complex and more there-on-the-page (there are moments in Stardust that really need the graphics to make them live). The blog delights me for the blend of simple humanity, bad-boy cheekiness, and devoted fatherhood, not to mention gardener in charge of (thrall to?) exotic pumpkins. Not to mention drinker of great whiskies.


Lynn Kendall

I was once sent, as a gift, a bottle of something alcoholic from Norway. It went from airport to airport across America, eventually winding up at Minneapolis Airport, and it cost me something very silly finally to get it out of bond, so I know how Thurber must have felt. (If you ever want to add to someone's woes, send them alcohol from another country.)

You are too kind, and I shall investigate the Strathisla. As you point out, I'll be in Scotland. I'm glad you liked "Locks". I did too. And yes, I think I'm slowly getting better at the craft of prose. (I said to Gene Wolfe, when I finished the first draft of American Gods, that I thought I was starting to learn how to write a novel. Gene chortled, and said, "You never learn how to write a novel. You only learn how to write the novel you're on.")