Friday, January 2, 2009
Darlings, First of all let me thank you for all the support you have given me over the past year as we have tried to keep up with our dear Dr. Faust and at the same time make her life a teensy bit easier. I must say I believe we have achieved our goals. And I can state with confidence that Drew appreciates our contribution to her quality of life and our success in clarifying her greatness to the world at large.
Evidence of her gratitude: I’m writing to you from the garrett Dr. Faust has assigned me at Elmwood. It is quite chilly here, as we do our part to minimize our carbon footprint. Thoughtfully, Drew gave me for Christmas a cunning pair of mittens that convert into fingerless gloves. So no matter how cold it gets I can still type and play the lute. Well, I could play the lute if I could play the lute, but that’s neither here nor there.
Here I have a tiny window overlooking Route 2 where the constant swirl of traffic keeps me focused on the ineffable passage of time. From time to time I descend the stairs to the tertiary kitchen from which I fetch a fresh bottle of Champagne. At least I did until yesterday when it became apparent that my charming garrett is chilly enough to serve as a refrigerator! Ensconced here I feel just like Emily Dickinson or Louisa May Alcott or even my great great aunt thrice removed Angelina Weld Grimke, with whom I was fortunate enough to meet as a small, very very small, a very very very small, child.
As you know this is a blog so I don't have to account for our activities of the past 12 months or so. You may simply read the entries to stroll through our year of advances and retreats, our digressions and diversions, our agonies and our ecstacies.
This letter instead will focus on something far more important — for we at the Drew Gilpin Faust Fan Club have made a fundamental shift in our perception of the role and function of our club in the life of Drewdie. This shift began when we read the powerful “Vision for the Arts at the Drew Gilpin Faust Fan Club” that formed the core of the report from the task force we charged to study said subject. This shift will continue over months and years ahead as we engage in a dialogue that will, I hope, ultimately see the arts assume their rightful place in the life of the Drew Gilpin Faust Fan Club.
Especially in difficult times, when ways of thinking and doing that we have taken for granted are challenged on a daily and weekly basis, we must encourage ourselves to ask fundamental questions and to solve problems in the inventive and collaborative ways exemplified by the making of art. Art produces experiences and objects that are carefully constructed and intricate reflections of the world, including the world of our dear Dr. Faust. Empathy, imagination, and creativity are forms of knowledge that our club must foster in its members. Moreover, the arts have the power to bring us together as a community in the present, but also to provide powerful connections to those who have come before us and to those who will follow us. In times of uncertainty, the arts remind us of our humanity and provide the reassuring proof that we, along with the Grecian urn, the Colbert Report, and the Dixie Chicks, have endured and will continue to do so. Now is the time to embrace, not retreat from the arts.
The actions recommended by the task force will not happen overnight and will require, over time, significant investments of both energy and Champagne on the part of myself, your President. In the near term, I look forward to working with the good people at Trader Joe's as they begin the process of upgrading their sparkling Tubuque Chucque as an economical alternative to the Champagne that fuels this blog. I hope to define, as well, some concrete actions to enhance support of this club in the larger world as we require more resources, such as chocolate covered espresso beans, with which to support the work of our beloved Drew.
I am personally grateful to the task force for their enormous investment of time and erudition in leading these efforts, and for their thoughtfulness and hard work in pointing us forward on this important set of issues. The report affirms the value of the arts in the life of our fan club and reminds us that we at the Drew Gilpin Faust Fan Club are both privileged and obligated to provide a comprehensive fandom experience as well as enhance the daily existence and reputation of Drew Faust.
Fondly, with eager anticipation of a peaceful and productive New Year,