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The Power of Charisma

February 16, 1986

Noel Young's review of "The Love Letters of Henry Miller to Brenda Venus" (Book Review, Feb. 2) revived my memories of the Henry Miller I was fortunate to hear lecture during October, 1977. The setting was a small theater in Beverly Hills, the SRO sign had been completely disregarded by the old and young who lined the walls, the foyer and the ceiling, it seemed to me! Director Jack Garfein wheeled Miller in. He looked like an octogenarian collapsed on the wheelchair, wearing worn slippers, but when he spoke--as Young concludes his review--"Whew!" We saw him transformed before our very eyes: Miller became vibrant, zestful, charming; the words flowed with his wonderful Brooklynese and he answered with graciousness every question flung at him until Garfein had to rescue him.

Miller's charisma . . . was in creating a one-to-one relationship, no matter where: on the platform addressing the audience or speaking individually as he did to me when he remembered me from a previous lecture. His warm smile was infectious, his humor divine.

SHERRY TERZIAN

Los Angeles

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