ON THE OCCASION OF FAREWELL SUMMER
ON THE OCCASION OF FAREWELL SUMMER I can only send good wishes to myself. Please excuse me, but when I realize this coming week is the publication of FAREWELL SUMMER, which began more than 55 years ago, I can hardly believe it. Indeed, it was even further back. It was when I was 22 and, you might say, put on my first pair of tennis shoes, and ran like crazy.
I was fully in love with writing from grade school on and in high school I began to write things about the ravine in my hometown. In FAREWELL SUMMER the ravine is the center of everything; the old people and the young live on opposite sides of this ravine that divides the town.
Many years since DANDELION WINE began, which was the beginning of the genesis of FAREWELL SUMMER, I had begun to collect essays and short stories about front porches and summer nights and Fourth of Julys and all the celebrations that led me into writing. Looking back I realize that I never had a day when I was depressed or suffered melancholia; the reason being that I discovered that I was alive and loved the gift and wanted to celebrate it in my story.
At one point Gourmet Magazine offered me a chance to write an article about helping my grandfather make dandelion wine when I was three in our cellar in Waukegan, Illinois. When I went back to visit my home town I wandered into the shop of the town barber, discovering that he had been there since I was a child and he remembered being my grandmother's boarder and recalled my coming up from the cellar to gather dandelions to make wine with my grandfather.
So FAREWELL SUMMER was embedded in all these memories and recollections. Writing it was a response to my ganglion and my antenna. I do not use my intellect to write my stories and books; I have a gut reaction to the things that my subconscious gives me. These are gifts that arrive early mornings and I get out of bed and hurry to the typewriter to get them down before they vanish.
FAREWELL SUMMER is a result of my having a grand time over many years and splitting that grand time in two pieces. The first half, DANDELION WINE, was published in 1957 and my publisher said that the book was a little to long so we'd have to save the second half and publish it in the future. So FAREWELL SUMMER was the second half and my ganglion and antenna broadcast back and forth and I had a good time of making sure it was delivered forth to my typewriter.
Along the way I have dramatized DANDELION WINE for the stage, and it's only a matter of time now before I do a second script of FAREWELL SUMMER and put it on the stage sometime this year.
In the meantime, I wish all of you the best in reading it because I had delight in realizing that my ganglion and my antenna are still functioning and the darned thing makes, I believe, a good read.
I send all of you my love,
October 11, 2006