As you will have no doubt already noticed on this site, many of the anecdotes about John involve his quick-witted sense of humour and his often shockingly funny use of expletives. However, this doesn’t really give a balanced portrayal of what was in fact a very sensitive, thoughtful and caring character.
A Letter from John 1993 (PDF)
A really good example, giving a glimpse of this side of John’s nature, can be found here in a personal letter, written in 1993 when he was living in Wells, Somerset. This has been very kindly submitted by a former pupil Chris Lewis.
Here is a full transcript of the text:
Thanks for the letter. Yes, I have recently discovered that the reason I frequently seem so tired is due to some food allergies – so at last something to work on!
Your news sounds good – it’s just that for some of us the changes required seem so huge and so different from convention and everyday middle of the road. I yearn for the blissful unawareness of my youth because there was no pain. And finding ways of coping or even ignoring people who are stuck in ways of life which I no longer find acceptable (to me) can be difficult. But they are there! (I have found the maxim, just because you are hurting does not mean you are not healing, a useful one in difficult times.)
I saw a good one on the wall of a church hall the other day,
‘When everything seems hopeless, what remains is the future!’
One thing is for certain – if we carry on the same way, we get the same results! But change requires effort, concentration and courage – and you are fortunate to be on this path so early in life.
It is, I think, (or can be) quite simple. We are what we learn to be! If our teachers (parents or otherwise) have had their difficulties (and who hasn’t), they inevitably pass them on to us especially when we are young and at our most vulnerable. The good news is that we can relearn. All we need is willingness and a sometimes a seemingly obtuse attitude that we should treat ourselves in the way we would treat our most treasured possession. Then, give it time – and listen to Bach!
Excuse the hasty scribbling.
Meanwhile all my best wishes