Sunday, November 11, 2007


I messed up. I should have kept it: a note from Normal Mailer. I was somewhat sad to hear that he had "hit the road." I'm sad when anybody does. Death is so very final. For most his age, we would have said "they've lived a long and rich life." But, as a celebrity author, it's hard to know. It was all so public. Six wives! You have got to be kidding me. What was it with Norman?

Obviously, a brilliant writer but in terms of love, well...of course, he might be a little like my nephew when he was young; after his third marriage and not yet thirty, I said to him: there is no rule that just because you have sex with someone, you have to get married. I think he got it as it was his last one. Norman kept going. Six wives. Now, even William Faulkner said that a good man should have only two--Not even so sure that two is a good idea.

I did get a note from Norman, once, maybe like thirty years ago. What happened was one of these desperate writer tales: collecting enough rejection slips to wall paper a good size house. Nobody told me I was a writer. In fact, quite the opposite. I just had it in my soul. I had to write: anything, letters, various scribblings, stories so I naturally thought I must be a writer as I was writing. I decided to seek professional help. I'd been to several writing classes and workshops but I couldn't keep my mind off the other writers, mostly women; and so don't know that the workshops did me much good. I saw an advertisement in Writers Digest, I think. You could send your manuscript to an agent and the agency would critique it and then get a famous published authoer to look it over. Norman was mentioned. I sent them my manuscript and $300 (lots of money in those days). A few weeks later I got my manuscript back, marked up with a page or two critique and a note from Norman. Basically, he said, "Forget it and don't give up your day job." It was not quite that cold but close. I should have saved it. I could have put it on Ebay. Damn.