Issue #232 / April 2023

What do you see as the purpose of The Red Hand Files? What’s their point?


My hubby Tim has been gradually reading me the historical Red Hand Files. We were late to this even though both of us have always loved and followed you. Unfortunately I am on palliative care and will no doubt shake off this mortal coil soon.
These questions are so wonderfully answered, they throw me directly into your arms.
I wish I had a good question to ask, alas not.
You have and do fill my world with joy, amongst these four walls.
I have shed tears for you and Susie and laughed with you too.
I have a beautiful signed copy of Idiot Prayer on one wall along with other lovely memorabilia that Tim brings to me. I listen to your audible books with delight.
I hope the future Nick and Susie find all the joy of life that you can draw from each other. Love to you both. PS. Love to Tim for writing this for me. He is my rock.


Dear Andrea, Alison and Tim,

After reading your question, Andrea, I jotted some words in my notebook, I wrote – ‘People unburden themselves with a kind of energy where each is elevated by the vitality of the exchange itself. Because something is required of each other, some measure of truth, of respect, of regard emerges. That we are heard, each of us, is the thing. The act of listening is perhaps the best we can do for each other.’ It was my first rough attempt to answer your question, but I decided to return to it later as I had been feeling out of sorts for a few days and was tired.

That evening, when I went back to look at the questions, as fate would have it, the first letter I read was yours, Alison and Tim, and it answered Andreas question better than I ever could. As I read it, all the disquiet and annoyance that I had been holding in my body for the last couple of days drained from me. The beautiful truth of your letter, its clarity, its humour, its dignity and its gratitude to the world, brought me back to myself. I felt your faith in the loveliness of life itself, and I heard, with both sadness and admiration, the voice of someone dying deep inside life, rather than away from it, with her husband by her side. How affecting it is to read something so spiritually eloquent, open-hearted and uncynical. I hold nothing but the highest regard for you both and I feel your love for each other, bright and alive, emanating from your words. I feel your love for me too and, well, that means something and I return that love with my whole heart. To witness the quiet courage you display in this life is a great privilege to us all. We are all deeply indebted. Please stay in touch.

Love, Nick


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