Monday, July 24, 2006


Over the years, one cultivates acquaintances or voyeuristic gazes with other writers.
Here are some samplings of my interactions and, as often, non-interactions:

Part 1:

With the exception of being a "bodyguard" for horror writer Clive Barker in a DC
bookstore as a teenager (the week before he had been attacked by a "fan" with a straight razor), it was Irish writers who were first in my sights. Nobel-prize winning poet Seamus Heaney offered me booze when I chaffeured him to a reading. Nuala Ni Dhonhnaill and I taught a class together and were depressed together for a full four months. Ciaran Carson visited the class and, later, after downing some whiskey, said over and over again, "This city of New York, New York City, it is fucking strange, man, this city." Michael Longley was amazed when I recognized him in mid-town Manhattan, a self-described "fat poet from Belfast, like Walt Whitman in appearance anyway." Tom Paulin arrived for our interview at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin so drunk he demanded I carry him up to bed instead. I pitched a script to Neil Jordan and am still waiting to hear back, five years later. Paul Muldoon asked me if I thought I looked "Curley." When I approached Tom Murphy in The Floating Tide pub across from the Abbey Theatre, he backed away. "I thought you were from Florida or Utah. Definitely a Yank, though." When Emer Martin showed up at a reading I threw in Soho in a cowboy hat and a blue sequined dress, I realized that the Irish were capable of style, after all. At seventy-five, John Montague walked down Thompson Street arm in arm with a woman no older than twenty-five. In Paris, Samuel Beckett
had told Montague that there was no such thing as love, that "there was just fucking." Beckett died on December 22, 1989, the same day I began reading him.....