I found this note in my e-mailbox yesterday:
I’m so proud. I saw the the headline “Finishing the Book” and immediately knew you were going to be referencing Sunday in the Park with George.
As someone in my early twenties just emerging from a South Georgia town about the size of Smalltown, U.S.A. (15,000, give or take), I’ve been following “About Last Night” eagerly from its beginning last summer, and it’s been a welcome expansion of my horizons. I’ve got you to thank for Avenue Q, Helen Frankenthaler, and TMFTML, just to name a few. It’s also occasionally been a reassurance. (Maybe there’s not something wrong with me because I don’t love Virginia Woolf; maybe I shouldn’t consider a rural background a permanent sentence to second-class cultural citizenship….)
I’m afraid that it’s a deceptively seductive medium, and I’ve come to feel oddly close to you and OGIC and many of the people in your right-hand column after what’s nearly been a three-season-immersion. There was a little inner debate on whether to address you as “Terry” or “Mr. Teachout.” South Georgia won. I’ve really got no reason to write other than to say thank you.
P.S. Congratulations on the Balanchine book. I hear that sort of thing isn’t easy, any way you look at it.
Right from the start, Our Girl and I hoped that “About Last Night” would be read not just in New York, Chicago, and cities of similar size and presumed sophistication, but all over the country. Well, we got our wish. Yes, we’re most frequently read in the eastern time zone of the United States, but most days we also get hits from as many as thirteen other time zones, along with mail from readers living in the most unlikely-sounding places–only it turns out that they’re not so unlikely after all. Modern communications technology has made the world of art universally accessible to all who care to partake of it, and the Web has gone beyond that to transform the cultural conversation. Time was when people like OGIC and me did all the talking. Now it’s a two-way street.
So to our happy reader from South Georgia, as well as to all the rest of you out there in cyberspace, our thanks for listening–and even more for writing. We feel every bit as close to you as you do to us. And don’t forget to tell your friends what they’re missing.