Thursday, 5 May 2011

Bookhugger column: "Is There Such a Thing as a Male Book?"

I'm glad to be back onstream in columnist capacity over at Bookhugger, and this month the chaps were kind enough to put in my lap a stimulating brief, namely a response to a fascinating piece on a useful topic written by Molly Flatt (pictured right) over at the affiliated Bookdiva. Said topic is the influence of one's gender upon one's writing and reading choices/preferences. And I daresay we all have a share in that subject. Pictured left, of course, is the late Norman Mailer and his late wife, the last of the six women he married, Norris Church Mailer. And you can imagine that I brought Norman into this discussion, without, I hope, doing anyone a disservice...


Haarlson Phillipps said...

Hi Richard, Met Mailer once, in Provincetown, while parking a car on Brewster Street. He looked dazed and confused. He paced the sidewalk in an agitated manner. I got out the car and asked him, 'Do you need help?' He brushed one arm one way and brushed me away with the other. I let him get on with it. Returned to my car and watched him. He seemed - how can I say? - I didn't know his personal circumstances - to be suffering from some kind of dementia.

Two days later I met one of his ex-wives at a party; his fourth or fifth, - not too sure. But, regardless of whether she was his fourth or fifth (of six, I think) we got along famously - swapping anecdotes about our travels, and Spain, and life in general.
'I saw him the other day,' I said. 'On Brewster Street. He seemed to be looking for a parked car.'
She laughed. 'That's Norm,' she said. 'How do you expect a man who can't remember where he parked his seed to remember where he parked his sedan?'

True story. Regards.

Richard T Kelly said...

Haarlson - v belatedly, that is a great story! Sounds like you've gotten about a fair bit in your life. And yes my sense of Mailer was that he wasn't much of a one for accepting a helping hand from any other fella - in his final years he seemed determined to go everywhere unassisted by nothing but two not-terribly-stout walking sticks... Best, Richard