Letter writing has all but disappeared -- a simple truth brought about by the advent of the telephone, the computer and the text message. So then what purpose does the recently published collection of letters between Hoosier journalist Hank Nuwer and his Buffalo State English professor and mentor Fraser Drew, entitled One Long, WILD Conversation, serve in such a techno-affluent society? Because it reminds us of the beauty that comes with opening a personally sealed envelope, unfolding crisp paper and enjoying a letter written especially for you. Drew and Nuwer kept up their correspondence out of a deep respect for one another and for their craft. For nearly 40 years they wrote, sharing ideas and experiences. Nuwer, a life-long writer and freelance journalist, chauffeured Norman Mailer in the early '70s, an experience that turned into a published essay, and interviewed such authors as David Mamet, James Dickey and Kurt Vonnegut. Drew, now in his late 90s, corresponded with poets Robert Frost, Langston Hughes and John Masefield. In 1955 he traveled to Cuba and met Ernest Hemmingway, with whom he also shared a correspondence. Throughout, Drew and Nuwer's commitment to share their progress withstood the test of time. Through various moves, marriages and divorce, each shared his insights in moments that eventually turned into lifetimes.
Carey Shea is a recent graduate from Franklin College's Pulliam School of Journalism where professor Hank Nuwer served as his academic mentor. For a longer version of this review, with ordering information, see www.nuvo.net.