Born St. Vincent’s in Greenwich Village and then before memory to commuter Connecticut out the Merritt Parkway.
Big brother Bill in school after school stealing and poison ivy on girls in the playground, to military school and booted to the Army and in three months booted to a Village second-story man in those last days of beatniks turning hippies.
Daddy media exec more and more a drunk to all a drunk.
Mother wearing down.
Me the good boy sent away to boarding school at an infantile twelve to survive – put him on a right raft, push it from shore. Learned fast don’t feel a thing. Church every day and twice Sunday and proper Episcopal rich kids for company to my scholarship.
I went to Stanford as Mother went to cancer and then pitchers and weed and Aspen for directed reading from the floor of the pool house behind the Jerome – five years (forced sabbatical bad behavior, New York proof-and-file downtown). Year in Maui running a ratty hotel at the end of the string those days. Taos, foreman for Millicent Rogers’ silly son, writing (call it that) winters and adobe dirt work summers bliss and muscles, wife by her mistake and mine but lovely daughter Abigail.
Brother Bill in Shasta with hip diaspora from San Francisco and dead to smack and speed.
Daddy in the streets and half-way houses of East Boston until at last on a night sidewalk.
From five years Taos to wife’s nightmare Sacramento for that year and a half as a tuxedo-flambé waiter writing the days appallingly.
Chased, and no mistake this time, to San Francisco after Leslie, and there raising her daughter Tatiana with Abigail, and with letters from Chip at the New Yorker always an ‘alas’ but the message particular and signed seeming almost as good as money. Leslie acting at ACT and the Magic and Eureka – if you knew there and then you’d know, theater, my first exposure and the first critical light to penetrate my typewriter while carrying plates every night.
With Leslie and her hopes-of to New York and there her shops and boiler room sales and my plates and kitchens and more ‘alas’ but New York and the last good affordable apartment in Manhattan until four years beyond affordable so a friend’s beaten barn of a place on the Gloucester shore north of Boston, gloves inside for winter and print marketing copy and seemingly ghastly novels.
Five years and Leslie’s mother’s stroke sent us to Oklahoma for that year of care before
taking her to her romance of Santa Fe for her final month, and we are there the five year cycle. An O.Henry prize story and HERO sold for a couple bucks and sweet reviews and a prize and, yes, also a movie option.
So LA on credit cards in anticipation of, don’t ask, a year and back to Gloucester for the cheap with bowel-wrenching debt and then relative flush of Web marketing and a couple business books, FOOL for another few dollars and nice reviews with time in Cambridge.
Now home for good to New Mexico. FOOL re-issued in Nancy Pearl’s Book Lust re-discovery series and BEAUTY out with Simon and Schuster in March of 2014. Ah, and now FOOL into the mysteries of a film option.
And, the girls long since up and out and every way fine.
Leslie still crazy brilliant. The dogs Patches to Charlotte to the new puppy Lucy.
These things count, as do friends and the ancient memory of those lonely boarding school alcoves.
And the novels. HERO drawn from years waiting tables; FOOL from boarding school truths and burying a mother-in-law; BEAUTY from years in an exhausted fishing port and hired histories for management consultants.