Fiction often truer than facts

Regarding Hugh Gilmore’s fascinating column last week [“Speculations on Lance, the missing inch and fiction vs. memoir”] on fact and fiction, of course we need both.

I’ve thought that good art speaks a truth beyond facts.

Once when I was at Rhodes University in South Africa I was asked to talk on “News as True Fiction” or “News as True Lies.” That’s a worthy topic for discussion here as well as in developing countries where I work with local radio stations to strengthen their programming.

In 1981, Abe Rosenthal, then executive editor of the New York Times wrote:

“I wish I were a poet, because poets are the best reporters. They tell you what counts and they do it with few words. They tell the truth so plainly that every reader is struck immediately by the reality of the truth and doesn’t need facts and figures to back it up. Someday a poet will write the best about China as poets write the best eventually about everything, damn them.”

Thanks for Hugh’s wise and thoughtful column; perhaps the conversation he started can continue.

Bill Siemering



Editor’s Note: Bill Siemering was the first program director for National Public Radio and the inventor of NPR’s first signature program, “All Things Considerered.”


Open doors, open minds, open hearts

I am thrilled that Marion Schuenemann was looking for worship on Thanksgiving Day. In a letter to the editor in the Jan. 31 Chestnut Hill Local she writes of her deep disappointment in not having an Episcopal Church worship in Chestnut Hill on Thanksgiving Day.

The only disappointment is that she never found her way to Saint Paul’s that hosted two services, one a glorious interfaith celebration on Thanksgiving Eve, and the other a celebration of the Episcopal Church’s Eucharist, our Great Thanksgiving, on Thanksgiving Day itself at 10 a.m.

At Saint Paul’s we say you will find open doors, open minds and open hearts. That was no less true on Thanksgiving than on any other day of worship. The good news is that Marion does not have to wait until next year. She can worship with us every Sunday at 8, 9 and 10:30 a.m. and every Wednesday at noon with prayers for healing.

We even plan to take worship out to morning commuters on Ash Wednesday. There is no need for disappointment at not being able to worship. Our doors and hearts are open!

The Very Rev. E. Clifford Cutler

Rector, Saint Paul’s Church


Appreciative of ‘amazing article’

WOW…Amazing article (“Dancing career ended by drunk driver,” Jan. 17). I see you really researched who I am as an artist, and I thank you for that.

I really appreciate your explanations and coverage of me as a youngster, young artist and who I am today, as well as the segues into the benefit (for three local non-profit organizations). It is the most important part for met – the giving back.

There is nothing more that can be done than your article. Hopefully, it will turn out to be a successful benefit for all those involved, and the response will be as good towards my work as it has been towards your article.

Thank you again for such a comprehensive and well written article.

Anthe Capitan-Valais



Bald eagles spotted in this area

Yesterday afternoon while driving through Erdenheim Farm something caught my eye in the field to the right just after crossing the Wissahickon heading towards Chestnut Hill. I saw a very large bird with a white tail taking off away from me and was pretty sure it was a bald eagle, even though I could not see the white head that mature males and females have along with the white tail.

So, today I stopped in one of the entrances to Fort Washington State Park off of Mill Road and picked up a pamphlet and called the number provided for the Hawk Watch Observation Deck that is in the park. A sweet elderly lady told me that when they started this program 25 years ago, they might see two bald eagles per year migrate through, and this past year they spotted 175. Their recovery since the ban of DDT is now bearing fruit.

And there indeed has been a pair of mature bald eagles that have stayed in the area since October, and they are hoping they will nest here. She said they have been feeding on fish out of the Wissahickon Creek and on the occasional deer that are hit by cars out there. I feel bad for the deer, but this is really cool!

Richard McIlhenny

Mt. Airy


Artist at Woodmere ‘surprised, pleased’

I was very surprised and very pleased to see your article about me (“Exhibits opening this week at Woodmere honor Jamison, 87,” by Louise Wright, Jan. 24). I never expected such a complete history of my life. Having done a little writing, I know how much thought you must have put in on wrapping all the varied subjects together into a cohesive article.

It was really great. Your (Wright’s) memory is tremendous, and I thought you worded things so well. I really loved it all. Thanks so much for all that you wrote. You have a new admirer.

Philip Jamison

West Chester