In Response to: Writing with the Master

I read with interest and a great deal of enjoyment the article about professor and author John McPhee. The article proved both enlightening and to a certain extent scary, as in 2009, I sent Mr. McPhee a copy of my memoirs covering my years as a student-athlete at Princeton in the mid-’50s. Earlier, I had read his article in The New Yorker (and later the book) about Bill Bradley ’65 titled “A Sense of Where You Are.” I was somewhat critical of a comment made in the article — that Mr. McPhee seemed very impressed that Bill Bradley could identify a basketball rim that was slightly off the mark as it pertained to its precise height. As an ex-hoopster myself, it was my experience that even a subtle deviation from the correct height was immediately obvious to the seasoned player. Other round-ballers I have questioned confirm this perception.

Now that I have read the article about Mr. McPhee, his approach to teaching, and his precision and expertise as a wordsmith, I am amazed that I had the chutzpah to send such a marginally crafted piece to such an expert. Ignorance is bliss! Beyond that, I went back into my personal archives and found his response, which was generous far beyond the merits of my recollections. Nice to have him “cut me some slack.” Thanks, John!

Kudos to PAW for recognizing the wonderful talent and humanity of this gifted author. I’m only glad that I read the article after the fact.

Dave Fulcomer ’58