Immense thanks to Ed for letting me guest-blog, and I ask for your patience with someone new to this. Although the number of us over 55 seems limited among lit-bloggers (there’s Frank Wilson at Books, Inq., Lynne W. Scanlon at The Publishing Contrarian and Michael Allen at Grumpy Old Bookman — if there are more, please let me know) and I find myself more and more playing the old man card to excuse all my failings, I’ll try not to do so here.
On the other hand, blogs, like the daily newspaper, tend to focus relentlessly on the present. Having graduated from an MFA program over 30 years ago and published my first book in the 1970s (when even my astute copy editor did not catch my error of referring to a “silicone [sic] chip”), I probably can’t add that much that’s unique to most discussions of what’s going on now in literature, so I figured I’d write about stuff from the past.
Like I wanted to write something about my friend Scott Sommer, who was my age and whom I met in 1979, the year our hardcover fiction books were published by the same publisher and edited by the same editor. He died in 1993, of a sudden heart attack, at only 42. Writing in The New York Times Book Review 22 years ago, Ed’s good friend Sam Tanenhaus said that Scott “displayed a unique comic voice, at once acerbic and melancholy, as if Holden Caulfield had teamed up with the young Samuel Beckett to recite the woes of lovelorn hipsters lost in a daze of Quaaludes and Kierkegaard.”
Yeah, there were hipsters in 1985, too.