Saturday, March 31, 2018

the last book I ever read (Off to the Side: A Memoir by Jim Harrison, excerpt thirteen)

from Off to the Side: A Memoir by Jim Harrison:

Nothing is so murky as the issue of money except perhaps sex. When you throw Hollywood into the career it becomes even more problematic. Hemingway was inappropriately self-congratulatory about avoiding screenplay writing what with solid novel and short-story property payments, but most of all, he had his wife Pauline’s allowance. Faulkner, for all the mythological smoke screen he established, was making as much as ten thousand a week in modern terms in the middle of the Great Depression, but then he was supporting a dozen people who all seemed eager to put Billy back on the train from Mississippi to Hollywood. Ray Stark told me that as a young agent one of his jobs was to try to get Raymond Chandler off the floor of his apartment where he occasionally slept fully dressed in a drying pool of his own vomit. I’m not sure if this is true but it sounds right. John Steinbeck went to Hollywood and fell in love, reasonably enough, with a torch singer. It is interesting to read that when Scott Fitzgerald went to the gold mine in the west he purportedly quit drinking but on further reading you see that he was drinking a case of beer a day, the same as a bottle of whiskey. When I read that Dylan Thomas wrote nineteen screenplays for the English film industry, I couldn’t believe it, though half that number would tell a story. Closer at hand, my good friend Tom McGuane had done very well but his home life had dissipated. All of this is not to say that I identify with, or even mistake myself as belonging to, this grand tribe of writers, only that if I had cared to closely observe the readily available evidence I may have acted otherwise. Maybe, but probably not. Who doesn’t at times feel like an exception to all general rules?

No comments:

Post a Comment