Community Connection - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 2069639

Community Connection

I have been coming to Sag Harbor since 1990 and have owned a house in the village for 19 years. From time to time I have ridden my bicycle down the gravel lane leading to John Steinbeck’s home to pay my respects to the writer who once lived there, just as I ride past the homes of Edgar Doctorow, Betty Friedan and others, to do the same. The fact that such writers have lived in Sag Harbor is very meaningful to me, for I have been a journalist and nonfiction writer for more than 35 years and will soon hand in the manuscript of my third book to Random House.

Keeping Steinbeck’s home as a writer’s retreat is an endeavor that I very much support, for I know what it is to be the beneficiary of a writer’s residency. Over the years, I have had five such, at the Ragdale Foundation in Lake Forest, Illinois. I also have had a fellowship to do a month of archival research at the Ransom Center at the University of Texas in Austin, a sister organization to the Michener Writers’ Center there. I have seen for myself that UT understands the responsibility to cater to writers and the public at the same time.

At a juncture when so much change is happening in Sag Harbor, I support preserving Steinbeck’s home as a place that will honor him by helping today’s writers and connect them to the community of the village, while at the same time ensuring that a particularly beautiful part of the village is properly cared for and remains intact for future generations to enjoy.

I urge Southampton Town and the Sag Harbor community to do all that’s necessary to make this goal a reality.

Gayle Feldman

Sag Harbor