After hearing an NPR story about a new edition of selected letters of John and Abigail Adams, I knew that would be a project of some sort. I had always been fascinated by written correspondence even as a child, and this was reawakened in me years later by Saul Bellow's novel Herzog, about a protagonist who begins writing letters in the midst of a midlife crisis. What mainly drew me to the correspondence between John and Abigail was the emotional content that leaped off the page at every turn. Of the 1,160 letters I skimmed them all, read around 500 quite thoroughly, and narrowed them down to roughly 18. Of these 18 I painstakingly chose 7 letters. I decided not to worry about how I would set the several pages of informal prose, let alone bits about ordering and sending supplies, the health of neighbors, and so on. In the end the key words in each letter formed a short little poem. The emotional power of these key sentences, combined with the relative formality of eighteenth century letter writing allowed the letters to write their own music, so to speak.
John Quincy Adams's (John Adams's son) letter to his father regarding the death of Abigail and John's subsequent reply bookend the entire work. The other letters are loosely linked by subject and an ever deepening bond between these two amazing people. Read about the exciting October 25th, 2014 premiere at the Adams Historic Site.