This is a copy of a letter I received in May of 1964 after a night at the Club 47 in Cambridge. I want you to see it because it's so from the heart:
After listening to you and enjoying so thoroughly your performance I've found myself wanting to thank you. For what I'm not quite sure. I'm not an avid devotee to folk music nor do I write fan letters (poor terminology but that's what this amounts to) but I left the 47 with a feeling of awareness, refreshed might be what it is, and it's great. I talk to literally dozens of people each week and maybe I've been hardened to the point of not finding anyone with something worthwhile to say, but you and your music made me stop, listen, and think, perhaps for the first time in months. There is a great beauty and depth to your world. . . . . . . . . something that can't be understood by people like me but you make me feel an impact of something terribly overwhelming, something almost unreal and yet very much here. If I could better express myself it would be so much easier to convey to you what I feel. I'll probably never be in a situation that will make our paths cross again but I won't forget the experience of listening to you for a long time to come.
For everything Mel, thanks, and please spend your life in happiness — growing and talking and making people think, not to mention music.Joan Chesleigh
Dear Mr. Lyman,
I've just completed reading your article, which speaks the truth. Could love be something you share with strangers (Fellow man) by exchanging radiated smiles?? Turning them on with a beautiful smile! Love is such a misused word, also a misused feeling! I'm not sure whether I know what love is! Help! Love must be there within thy self because it doesn't come to you like ZAP I love. The love movement is new to people, of course we're not sure of the definition of love or how to express it correctly, but the majority of we earthlings are trying. Give us a little credit for attempting something foreign — The Truth of Love. Please straighten me out as well as everybody else that is confused.With
is what everybody is searching for
Love is the perfection
which exists as an archetype
in every one of us
The above is what I wrote in immediate response to your letter. It answers all your questions and yet I want to talk to you about specifics, like the smile. HELL YES, a beautiful honest-to-goodness smile from a woman is the holiest LOVE-liest sight on earth, don't EVER stop doing that, it's the greatest thing you can give. Don't worry about what's love and what's not love, just do your best to be true to your best and it will all take care of itself. All the kids talking about love are kids. Kids cannot know love but they are beautiful at play.
Only one who has suffered greatly and risked all for many many years and days has any claim to what it means to have known love
for he has found what it has meant to NOT know love
but he will never tell. . . . . . . . . . he will only DO
Your letter is the first loving letter I have received on my article. All the others were TELLING me, you were ASKING me. You will find love. Stay open, keep asking, and you will always find more.
If you feel I haven't adequately answered your questions please let me know, your openness is rare and refreshing and I will ALWAYS have time for you.Yours Truly,