[percy-l] Unearthed: Walker Percy’s Fan Letter to Bruce Springsteen

janetcantor37 at yahoo.com janetcantor37 at yahoo.com
Fri Oct 25 12:06:13 EDT 2013

Thank you so much for unearthing this. I will read it more carefully tomorrow. What a  find.
Janet Cantor

On Friday, October 25, 2013 9:45 AM, Jim Forest <jhforest at gmail.com> wrote:

Unearthed: Walker Percy’s Fan Letter to Bruce Springsteen
1/22/2009 2:29:47 PM
by Jeff Severns Guntzel
Tags: Spirituality, Bruce Springsteen, Walker Percy, Flannery O'Connor, Catholicism, Correspondence, DoubleTake
Buried in the Utne Reader library is nearly every issue of the sorely 
missed DoubleTake magazine. That’s where I stumbled across this letter 
from Walker Percy to Bruce Springsteen in 1989. When Springsteen finally responded, in 1993, it was to Percy’s widow. It’s a charming and intriguing correspondence 
that touches on the Catholicism and work of both men. DoubleTake ran the letters with a discussion between Springsteen and Percy’s nephew Will.
Here’s the exchange of letters:
Feb 23, 1989
Dear Mr. Springsteen—
This is a fan letter—of sorts. I’ve always been an admirer of yours, for 
your musicianship, and for being one of the few sane guys in your field.
The immediate occasion is that my favorite nephew, Will Percy, has even a higher opinion of you. He is a level-headed perceptive young 
lawyer and generally knows what he is talking about.
particular interest is from learning—from an article in America, the 
Jesuit weekly—that you are Catholic. If this is true, and I am too, it 
would appear that the two of us are rarities in our professions: you as a post-modern musician, I as a writer, a novelist and philosopher. 
That—and your admiration for Flannery O’Connor. She was a dear friend of mine, though she was a much more heroic Catholic than I. The whole time I knew her, she was dying of Lupus Erythematosus, a fatal and extremely unpleasant disease. A prime example of her faith: she was participating in a seminar with some modish ex-Catholics like Mary McCarthy. Mary, 
thinking to be generous toward the church, said something like: “Well, 
it is true, some of the Catholic rituals, like the Eucharist, are good 
symbols.” To which Flannery, who hadn’t said a word, responded with a 
single sentence: “I say that it it’s only a symbol, to hell with it.” 
You will recognize Flannery’s tone.
This is to say only that I am most interested in your spiritual 
journey, and if there is any other material about it, I’d be obliged if 
you will tell me.
Unfortunately, I have cancer and am taking radiation for it. I am far from well and am not able yet to receive visitors.
Since I don’t know your address I am handing this to Will who says he knows where to send it.
All my best wishes for your superb career.
Walker Percy
+ + +
Dear Mrs. Percy,
This is a letter so long in coming I’m almost embarrassed to write, but I’ve gotten to 
know Will a little bit and he’s encouraged me on, so here we go.
A few years back when I received Dr. Percy’s letter, I wasn’t very 
familiar with his work…my memory is that [his] leter was written on a 
yellow legal pad and, as is mine, his handwriting was not the easiest to decipher. It was a passionate letter about the comforts and 
difficulties of reconciling the inner life of a sophisticated man, a 
writer’s life, with the Catholic faith. I recall Dr. Percy’s explaining 
how one had brought depth and meaning to the other for him. He was 
curious to know how I handled my issues of faith….
It is now one of my great regrets that we didn’t get to 
correspond. A while after receiving Dr. Percy’s letter, I picked up “The Moviegoer,” its toughness and beauty have stayed with me. The loss and 
search for faith and meaning have been at the core of my own work for 
most of my adult life. I’d like to think that perhaps that is what Dr. 
Percy heard and was what moved him to write me. Those issues are still 
what motivate me to sit down, pick up my guitar and write. Today, I 
would have had a lot to put in that letter….
I hope this letter finds you well and that someday when I’m down 
in your neck of the woods or you’re up in mine we can meet. I’d love to 
have you come to a show, you might like it!
Bruce Springsteen
P.S. I’m in Australia at the moment and I’ve just begun “The Message in the Bottle.”

Read more: http://www.utne.com/mind-and-body/unearthed-walker-percys-fan-letter-to-bruce-springsteen.aspx#ixzz2ieGjOTF5
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All Is Grace: a biography of Dorothy Day:

Saint George and the Dragon

For the Peace from Above:
a Resource Book on War, Peace and Nationalism

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In Communion site: www.incommunion.org

Jim & Nancy Forest
Kanisstraat 5 / 1811 GJ Alkmaar / The Netherlands 

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