Tuesday, September 30, 2014


My old agent, Owen Laster, head of Literary, such as it was, at the William Morris Agency, said what he loved most about me was that I never gave up.  But he is dead now, so that no longer seems a vital evaluation.
   What I loved most about me, if I really loved about me at all, was my conviction that if you were indefatigable in the pursuit of some worthy purpose, you would never grow tired.  But I am afraid I was wrong.  A few weeks in New York, darkening skies, and a darkening world have borderline sapped me of my energy, and very much robbed me of my childlike vitality and optimism, which really are hardly applicable to one of my years, which I have always discounted, but my bones begin to be aware of.
     Battles rage on the literary front, of which I am hardly conscious, except that Philip Roth, great writer and heartless narcissist, is on the front page of the Business section of the Times, decrying the battle for writers to get what is due them, via Amazon and Hachette.  I remember with something more than a mind's eye the wonderful recently visited bookshop in Amsterdam, savored only briefly, that had real books in it, stacks of shelves, a checkout counter, as in days of yore, and, even more yore-ly, my vanished youth, so much of it passed in bookstores.  I can conjure like the wounded child I was, shelves low to the ground I sat on, turning pages that made me smile or raise a tear or two.  As it is now, I do not even really connect with the vanishing book world, since the last thing I wrote was not even given serious attention by an agent who had no idea who I was, if indeed I was ever anybody.  So interesting, really, as the last few years of my life were spent trying to learn to live fully in the moment, as the moments vanished, struggling to give up attachment to wanting to be Somebody.  And now I no longer am.  I wonder at that not making me happier.
         Had lunch at the Metropolitan with Betty Srere and Suzie Habachy, friends from Bryn Mawr, and lifelong friends as it happily turns out, two excellent women who remind me how lucky I was to go to that great college, with its values that never desist.  Would that the world could hold to that level.