General Note
When blurbing one’s books, it is customary to reprint the blurbs of other writers whose arms may have been twisted, or to quote critics, who—for whatever reason—admired a book at the moment of publication. Instead I thought I’d retype some passages. Let you decide for yourself. Radical idea?

Of course retyping made me itch to edit and maybe re-write, but then isn’t this a little like chess: once you’ve taken your hand off the bishop, you’re supposed to live with the consequences. So I’ve resisted, except in the introduction to The Letters of John Cheever. Here I cut deeply. I wanted to get quickly past my own angst and give at least a glimpse of the letters.

The Partisan

(Atheneum; 1994)

“This is the excellent foppery of the world, that when we are sick in fortune—often the surfeit of our own behavior—we make guilty of our disasters the sun, the moon and the stars: as if we were villains by necessity, fools by heavenly compulsion… Tut, I should have been that I am, had the maidenliest star in the firmament twinkled on my bastardizing.”     —Lear
 
That was the summer I worked for the Westchester Commons. I was in love with Amy Snodgrass Rose. Amy was in love with David Hitchens. David was in love with Gloria Thomas. I was in Westchester. Amy was in Washington State. David was in Montreal. Gloria had gone to Paris. The sex was very safe.
 
And I was very lonely.
 
I sent a postcard every day. “Nonsmoking film major seeks statuesque redhead to share his dreams. Correction: NSFM seeks to support redhead’s dreams. Correction: NSFM dreams of redhead. Oh, you know what I mean. Anything but smoking.” I always signed it “Desperately.”
 
The message weren’t all that witty. I didn’t think a sense of humor was what Amy wanted in Mr. Right.