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Sarah Valadez

734 Centennial Drive


El Paso, Texas 79912
June 11, 2014
David Sedaris
12 Western Avenue Petaluma
CA 94952 USA

Dear Mr. Sedaris,
I thank you for reminding me of how much I suffered through my high school music theory
class. Languages of any sorts with the exception of perhaps, math hold no comparison to chords
and clefts, at least French and all the other Germanic languages share the same alphabet and the
occasional word such as restaurant or entrepreneur might make a crossover to English.
Music theory was akin to spelling words without any knowledge as to how individual letters
sounded or what the meaning of the word I had pieced together meant. I was creating much
discord on my staff paper because of my musical illiteracy despite playing cello for 7 years
previous to the class. No semblance of harmony was to be found in my musical compositions, in
fact if the botched phrase me talk pretty someday was to be transposed to sound it would
sound a lot like my music. Your mention of an occasion when you struggled to fill in the blank
with something that made sense and revealed a semblance of your identity and it ending up in
you settling for Just give me a moment while I strap on my wooden leg, brought to mind how
much of a pity I though, that I had all of these beautiful melodies frothing up inside of my head,
but I was SEVERELY limited by my musical illiteracy and could not convey them.
On a more contemplative note, a thought arose upon reading another of your experiences in
which you became afraid to speak French at all, I fear that a sense of unity among people is lost
to us because of the stigma attached to speaking a less than perfect form of a language, thus
discouraging communication and by extension discouraging people from making connections
across cultures. The ability to understand a language as you said, allows for the world to open to
us, this statement struck me with the thought that progress is dependent upon literacy, that people
cannot convey or protect their identities and ideas without understanding how to and effectively.
A firm grasp on the language of anything is vital to enriching ones life experiences as well as in
the pursuits of being able to talk pretty someday or being able to music really well.

Best Regards,
Sarah Valadez