the magic of letters. #HeleneHanff #letterfromnewyork


you never know which letters one writes that will have the desired effect – in work, life, love and all the other reasons to write and receive a Letter.

Helene Hanff had no earthly clue that her charming and irascible letters to a certain bookseller would become a book, a broadway and west end Show and a movie.

so one writes.

and goes to the Post Office.

and waits to see…….

which is exactly what Helene did all those years ago and now we feel she’s living at our house – because we’re thoroughly Enjoying her book of scripts which she read each week for six years on the BBC (doff cap) called Letter From New York – and when we read a book, it feels as if the Author comes to stay.


so we are snuggling under the blankets (tis veritable Winter in manhattan now – all grey/gray/Dior-shade gloom and Rather Chilly) and imagining Helene in the next room, writing furiously (and probably smoking) before heading to the BBC studios in manhattan, clearing her throat, and speaking Directly into the microphone before being mixed and recorded and preserved on tape (in those days – it was the late 70s) back at Broadcasting House where we appeared ourselves many years ago on a Radio Programme (heady days).



so we lay here – with this view onto the cold manhattan day beyond – and imagine New York in the 70s – which isn’t hard to do with this New Reality of economic downturn out there, it seems – but in here, well, we are cozy and warm and enjoying Helene a great deal.


she talks of the cross-cultural differences between England (a transatlantic world away in those days – today – well – the Interweb has certainly brought it closer to us expats living Here and still wondering about life There).


and she talks about the dogs she knows and the keeping-ones-thanksgiving-entrees-in-the-cold-larder-in-upstairs-apartments (one had tiny apartments then, as now, in NYC). OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA viewer-1

reading Helene is helping us spend the last few weeks of our manhattan-resident-status in something of a Rather Nice Reverie.

we are waiting for the next chapter to begin (and the interminable holidays to be over – so dispiriting to hear so many early-career-tracks from Mr. Sinatra in every shop that one visits – and it feels like Months now – bah humbug indeed – forgive – we enjoy twinkle-and-tinsel as much as the next cute virtual character but this year it has a forced desperation and is a tiny bit hollow…….or are we just being a little bit Too Sensitive, darlings?)

so Helene is keeping us Company.

and she makes for a terrific companion.

we even gave her our favo(u)rite cashmere throw to put over her knees on the couch while she’s correcting her drafts for the BBC.

the author is in residence.

and then – because we travel lightly in this world – we are giving our copy of Letter From New York to someone marvel(l)ous who also writes in NYC – and is a Fine writer herself – we hope she takes inspiration and solace and encouragement from Helene as we did.

we expect great things.

magical letters.

from magical writers.

5 thoughts on “the magic of letters. #HeleneHanff #letterfromnewyork

  1. Agreed about this Holiday Season feeling a bit hollow. I am not one of those people who feel gloomy during the Holiday season but I am not feeling it this year.

    Anyway, covered myself with a warm blanket of your words!

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