I recently received several lovely emails from readers of Marcel’s Letters. Their thoughtful messages noted how they couldn’t put the book down or how they, too, “fell deeply in love with Marcel, his family, and the font.” Emails like that make my heart swell until it feels like it could burst.
After I shared these messages with my husband, Aaron, we joked it was only a matter of time before I would receive a letter or email that contained an opposite sentiment. READ MORE
This letter was written and mailed by my grandfather, J. Emery Porter, to his sister, Lois Bayley. Forty or so of Emery’s WWI letters to Lois have survived (read more about these letters here). On the back of the envelope (shown above), he included a return address: “Pvt. Emery Porter, 646 Aero Squadron, American Expeditionary Forces, via New York.” I never met my grandfather, but I heard he was a life-long French speaker and unabashed Francophile, primarily due to the experiences he had while stationed in France.
“Nowhere in France”
March 24, 1918
I was the happy recipient of your letter today. It is the second I have received from home folks. I received one from Mother two weeks ago this morning but nothing since. Evidently you have written others which I may yet receive. This one was dated March 2nd or 3rd. Emily K. has written six but I have received two so far so you can judge why I don’t respond often.
This is Ms. Porter’s story as well as Marcel’s. She tells it honestly and with deep emotion. She manages to balance the several strands of her adventures—the history lessons, the details of creating a font, the inner workings of her marriage, and the clues that point to the eventual outcomes. The reader will rejoice with her when things go well and cry with her when she faces discouragement. It’s a great story.
– Carolyn Schriber, Military Writers Society of America
Two years ago, Steve Heller invited me to submit images of my type sketchbook. I loved how he didn’t ask whether I had a type sketchbook, rather he assumed I did. It was an honor to share images, but also a bit scary as I’ve never shown my sketchbook to anyone before. After submitting the images and answering a few questions about materials and process, I didn’t hear a word. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if anything ever came of the project.
Our conversation began with this astonishing claim: “My father was friends with Marcel Heuzé.”
(Cue the sound of a needle scratching across a record.)
Let me back up. Two weeks ago, I picked up my office phone to hear a 90-year-old woman with a crisp French accent state her name — Nelly Trocmé Hewett — followed by the astonishing claim her father had been friends with Marcel.READ MORE
I was — I am! — humbled and honored to learn Marcel’s Letters is one of four finalists in the Memoir & Creative Nonfiction category of the Minnesota Book Awards. Finalists were chosen “by 27 judges from around the state—writers, teachers, librarians, booksellers, and others from the literary community.”
I am also honored to be a finalist with Amy Thielen for Give a Girl a Knife, Tom Rademacher for It Won’t Be Easy: An Exceedingly Honest (and Slightly Unprofessional) Love Letter to Teaching, and Linda LeGarde Grover for Onigamiising: Seasons of an Ojibwe Year.
Read the official announcement here.
Update April 21, 2018: Huge congratulations to Linda LeGarde Grover for her win for Onigamiising: Seasons of an Ojibwe Year!
I just finished reading Spandau: The Secret Diaries by Albert Speer. A friend loaned the book to me long ago; she heard Marcel had been imprisoned in Spandau, and thought the book might be of interest.
Albert Speer was Hitler’s architect and eventually became Minister of Armaments and War Production. During the post-war Nuremberg trial, Speer denounced Hitler, took responsibility for the use of forced labor, and was sentenced to a 20-year prison term. Many other Nazi leaders, including Fritz Sauckel, General Plenipotentiary for Labour Deployment (that is, the man who was in charge of sending men like Marcel to Germany), were hanged.READ MORE
2850 Bellevue St.
Kansas City Mo.
I rec’d your nice letter so will try and answer it. Here’s goes for nothing and you’ll agree with me when you finish reading it. READ MORE
Somewhere in France
My Dearest Wife:
Well Christmas is here an gone. It didn’t even seem like Christmas just like another day. Christmas Eve we didn’t get in till about six. After we ate I washed and shaved. Was [illegible due to paper damage] to a little party they were having over in his Co. Then we were going to go to midnight services. READ MORE
25 December 1943
A few more hours and our xmas will be over, (4 to be exact). Yours is all over already. In fact you and Mike are more than likely tucked away in bed by now because it is 2 o’clock in Eau Claire.READ MORE