Category Literature


November 1998 I love the synchronicity of things. Last week at work, I was studying the history of the U.S. national soccer team, and my reading had brought me up to the Berlin Olympics. I found a National Archives spot on the Web that talked about them. The AAU, two governors and the U.S. rep […]


May 2002 I don’t know how much longer I can afford to have friends. Last week, it was Dorothy, visiting from Ithaca, buying me a drink at Mirbeau, settling me into a brown leather sofa, and then softly saying, “Margarite Yourcenar’s Memoirs of Hadrian is one of the most beautifully written books I have ever […]

Having a Wonderful Time, Chapter 1

It seems silly now, but once I thought the novel was the ultimate goal for a writer, and that I should write one. It would take a long time, but if I kept after it day by day, I would eventually have a novel. But I would have to enjoy what I was doing. So […]

Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

February 27, 2005 Where to begin with Hunter Thompson? At the beginning, I guess: Dan McNelly, a fraternity brother, handing me a copy of Hell’s Angels in 1967 and saying, “You’ve got to read this.” (Dan also gave me a copy of Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me by Richard Fariña; […]

Chris Zenowich

There are two kinds of writers in advertising: writers who learn by accident they can make a living there, and advertising people who love the business but can’t draw. I was the former, a writer who discovered that as a copywriter I could pay the bills. One day at Silverman Mower in Syracuse, N.Y., where […]

Mrs. Field

October 16, 2005 Seeing a few minutes of a baseball playoff game this past week brought Mrs. Field back to mind. Her son George was in my Cub Scout pack; I first met her while learning the ancient art of soap carving in their basement on Belmont Avenue. Mr. Field taught us Cubs how to […]

Joy Barlow

It is difficult to imagine life without Joy Barlow. In The Big Sleep (1946) she played the cabbie who gave Philip Marlowe a lift, and the exchange between Barlow and Humphrey Bogart is the stuff that dreams are made of. (She said, “Listen, if you ever need a ride again…” “Day or night?” “Night. I […]