The great conversation

I spent the morning engaged in a long lost art: letter writing, to an old friend. Life may have long ago parted our paths, but we stay in touch nonetheless. She’s one of those who pushed me to start writing again, even when I was certain I had packed away my pen for good.

She reminded me recently of an old friend we both shared named Harlan Hobbs. Now I only met Harlan a couple of times in my life, albeit, but we spoke like long lost friends when we did. An old writer himself, we shared a passion and common interest. And he had a talent for making even weirdos like us feel right at home, important, understood and appreciated.

He would often speak of this “great conversation” in which we should all take part, we writers especially.

At the risk of sounding grandiose, think Shakespeare: “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts.” Think Whitman: “That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.”


When I read about Harlan’s passing a few years back, I knew the world would be a bleaker place. Still, my friend and I continue his “great conversation,” even though we both wish he were still a part of it. While our own meager contributions may fall blisteringly short of noteworthy, we continue to talk. After all, I believe Mr. Hobbs would agree, that was point of starting that great conversation in the first place.