Friday, January 09, 2009

A Very Intelligent and Nice Man

I know some of you have already had the "wow" experience of finding your old acquaintances on Wikipedia, but the whole Facebook phenom goaded me to look up someone I knew in college who had since become an acclaimed author.

[There is a fan page for Peter Hessler that he did not create himself, unless it's a rouse; however, read these creds and tell me he would be that pedestrian.]

I lost track of him during the Peace Corps period.  I have a letter he sent me from China with some Asia-bureau Wall Street Journal clips.  We we colleagues about 13 years ago at the University of Missouri's Writing Lab.  [Blah blah blah.]

What Wikipedia doesn't say is that he's also super-healthy, kind and unpretentious.  At least he was when I knew him, and considering all he's accomplished, I think he must still be fairly disciplined.  And he already had come from Princeton when we met, so I am sure he's still great company.

Learning Chinese is a huge thing in itself.  I could never hope to be that smart.  He is someone I could not edit, but I bet his work hardly needs it.

Here's cheers to you, Peter; I have begun Oracle Bones a number of times but lack discipline to get past page 40-something.  Perhaps I should put away the Edith Wharton and buckle down (as it looks like I will not be taking any classes this semester).

It's good to have role models, even if we don't follow them.

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