Harriet the Spy

Dear Harriet,

I have been thinking about you and I have decided that if you are ever going to be a writer it is time you got cracking. You are eleven years old and haven't written anything but notes. Make a story out of some of those notes and send it to me.

"'Beauty is truth, truth beauty' -- that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know."

John Keats. And don't you ever forget it.

Now in case you ever run into the following problem, I want to tell you about it. Naturally, you put down the truth in your notebooks. What would be the point if you didn't? And naturally those notebooks should not be read by anybody else, but if they are, then, Harriet, you are going to have to do two things, and you don't like either one of them:

1) You have to apologize.
2) You have to lie.

Otherwise you are going to lose a friend. Little lies that make people feel better are not bad, like thanking someone for a meal they made even if you hated it, or telling a sick person they look better when they don't, or someone with a hideous new hat that it's lovely. Remember that writing is to put love in the world, not to use against your friends. But to yourself you must always tell the truth.

Another thing: If you're missing me I want you to know I'm not missing you. Gone is gone. I never miss anything or anyone because it all becomes a lovely memory. I guard my memories and love them, but I don't get in them and lie down. You can even make stories from yours, but remember, they don't come back. Just think how awful it would be if they did. You don't need me now. You're eleven years old which is old enough to get busy at growing up to be the person you want to be.

No more nonsense.

Ole Golly Waldenstein

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