So all last week I told you about Victoria Sweet's fantastic memoir, God's Hotel: A Doctor, a Hospital, and a Pilgrimage to the Heart of Medicine. And even in all that blabbing, I forgot to tell you about the best part of the book: the endnotes.*
Now, normally, because I have worked as an editor and an indexer, I do at least look at the endnotes of all nonfiction books. And, depending upon how substantive they are, I do sometimes pause while reading a book to pop to the back notes and see if they add any interesting information. But Victoria Sweet's endnotes are so interesting that you could almost sit down and read them like another chapter (which I did, because I didn't get the chance while reading most of the book to flip to the back--I didn't want to lose the thread of the narrative). Not only do the notes provide even more insight into her text, they provide a wealth of just plain fascinating information. And, in one notable case, poetry:
"Page 247. 'Mr. Zed wrote a poem for Paul': Mr. Zed was part of the poetry group at Laguna Honda...The real Mr. Zed naturally wants his work to have his real name attached to it, and so do I. But as his physician, I am not supposed to reveal identifiable patient information. A compromise is that I will put anyone wishing to contact Mr. Zed in touch with him, with his permission. Since I also particularly love his [poem] 'Letter Needing No Stamp,' I quote it here:
...We must all pray that you never resign or become bitter.
As sad as things seem to be here
Without you they'd be infinitely worse.
Thank God for God
Stay in there buddy
Have a martini once in a while
Create a new universe." (p. 366.)
I did not quote the whole poem, because I just want you to go and read this whole book.
*Thank God my sister reminded me about the notes. I can blame the CRboys for Mommy Brain until the youngest one is 18, right?