January 24, 2010
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. Obama
No doubt about it: you've just been through one of the roughest weeks of your presidency yet -- the kind that queasily portend more such to come. I support and respect you, but rather than offer mere tepid cheer (or, worse, unsolicited policy advice), I here send an item that may actually be of practical use.
I understand Lawrence of Arabia is among your favorite films. (It is my all-time favorite.) One of its most telling bits of dialogue-words I've heard you (slightly mis) quote- is found on these pages from my copy of the shooting script, which a friend gave me in L.A. long ago. (How he came by it is a question best left unasked.) I took the script to a private screening in May 1988 of the then-not-fully-fine-tuned restored version of the film. Among the 50 or so in attendance were David Lean and Peter O'Toole, both of whom graciously autographed it.
Since I gather these words carry personal meaning for you, I'm hopeful that this enclosure will serve as a reminder of something important and will lend you strength-not only now but also in needed times yet to come.
Patience, fortitude, and humor!
St. Louis Park, Minnesota