Dear Jack London, Happy Birthday!
I am uncertain how to address this and even how to begin this letter.
The formal words of address do not sit well with me. You were born 125
years ago and I am a bit older than you were at the time of your death.
Three generations seperate us and yet there is some connection which
defies the barriers of time. A connection of the spirit more than the
blood. You had more wisdom than your years. I salute you and I admire
you because you lived life on your own terms, with intelligence, discipline,
courage, fortitude and more; your terms mandated not taking advantage
of another's lot in life or misfortune. Such integrity is rarely seen.
So much depth to you, so much confusion and misunderstanding on our
We, in our brave new era, will spend a lifetime deciphering your nuances.
I know this intimately because, yes, it is in your writing but also
plain to see in your offspring, who are many. Of whom I am one. I refuse
to be sentimental. (this is the hardest part of living in the shadow
of your greatness.) You do not need me to ennumerate your achievements
which are many, but here are some of my personal reasons for this tribute:
-- you make your readers think, question, stop in their tracks EVEN
--you bring everything ALIVE with your writing (even now)
--your writing is eclectic, this broad range insures that you will never
--you were so modern in your thinking that you would laugh at how little
we have truely progressed --you never turned your back on the salt of
the earth, the working people
--AND although you have been perceived as a "gentleman farmer" you had
laudable goals with your land and your dream home: environmentally and
-- a dream beyond your own personal needs A vision which was before
its time to improve the by TILLING the LAND ORGANICALLY to enrich it
so that it would be more productive than that which was chemically fertilized.
You did accomplish part of your goal: You are responsible for the agricultural
rejuvination of a region.
Are today's farmers bold enough to be organic? NO. To diversify? NO.
But they could and should and you demonstrated that it is a viable possibility.
AND Yes, the state park should be a demonstration model farm of scientific,
organic, diversified agriculture. We have alot to learn. You had a vision
of building a COMMUNITY for those who worked for you, that their children
would have a school, what a thought! Why, I suppose you would be shocked
to know that in this modern era, the children of farmworkers in California
still work in the fields and get scant education? A vision for a HOME
which was also a CULTURAL CENTER...what madman is this who would welcome
any artist, poet, writer, hobo, ex-convict, or anyone who brought fresh
thought into his own home? Obviously a relative of mine. Cherish the
What madman would descend willingly, offer himself up to "The People
of the Abyss" and write eloquently of the conditions of the poorest
people in the belly of the wealthiest nation of the world (at that time),
who but a true relative of mine. Proud offspring, YES, I SAY, YES PROUD.
But Jack London belongs to the world and the world loves him yet. SO
WORLD do as Jack London advised: be bold, take a stand... what do you
think now of Jack London?