Autobiographical Echoes in The Road

This topic contains 30 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  BobbyKnoxville 1 year, 9 months ago.

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  • 13 May 2012 at 4:26 pm #1212

    A few weeks ago I announced on the old Forum that I was gonna do a piece on The Road for my website, and a few of you expressed interest in it. Finally got around to doing it.

    You can access it on http://www.writecorner.com. Check the Fresh & Ripe section of the home page and click on my real name under the full title, AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL ECHOES IN CORMAC McCARTHY’S THE ROAD. This is a risky essay and so is life so what the hell.

    As always, I welcome any comments pro or con, yea or nay, sweet or sour, alpha or omega, sturm or drang zzzzzzz


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    14 May 2012 at 8:03 pm #1245

    Glass
    Member

    Going to read this again later in the week. The first time through was a great ride. I hope others will find this thread, head over to writecorner and read your article.


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    26 May 2012 at 4:08 pm #1351

    willey
    Member

    Nice piece, BK, particularly the bit about the old McCarthy homeplace.

    And, not to go all grammarian, I do have to take issue with your reading of the book’s last line. In spite of evidence to the contrary in the Cretin post over there (and in the Blood Meridian epilogue itself), McCarthy usually has tight control of his sentences. The only possible antecedent for the word “they” here is “brook trout.” There were brook trout: “they” smelled like this, “they” looked like this, “they” lived here.

    The only person present in the passage is “you.” Both a general person and, more powerfully, you the reader. They didn’t just smell of moss, BK, they smelled of moss in your hand. And we’ve lost them in the book, and we stand to lose them outside the book. In doing so, will we also lose the hum of mystery? That past tense “hummed” mustn’t be lost on us.

    For your essay, BK, given that it’s primary interest is autobiography, you ought to be more interested in the tradition of the authorial second-person. Often the second person “you” is an obvious stand-in for “I.” But that opens up questions about the narrator, which are hard to answer.

    And that leads to me to what interests me about this last section of the book. I want to liberate it from being purely allegorical, message-y, moral-of-a-fable. I’m not sure if I can. But I’m interested in how this passage relates to stories about the old lost world that the man told the boy, and the man’s request that the boy “carry the fire,” and his promise that the boy can always talk to him–”like talk that you imagine.” In this way, “you” isn’t just a stand-in for the author, nor is it simply the reader, nor a general person before the unnamed cataclysm, but the narrator becomes the boy and “you” is the man. It takes a leap to get to that reading, though, and perhaps too far a leap.


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    27 May 2012 at 11:33 pm #1353

    BobbyK: I enjoyed your essay very much, and you draw interesting parallels between the wife in The Road and McCarthy’s first wife. The emotional content between the two situations/partings certainly might resonate in an author’s mind. And I particularly like your final phrase, “the goodness of mystery.” While I admire the hopefulness of your reading of the last paragraph, I myself can’t read it to mean there are still deep glens where the family now lives, nor that the voice is the boy’s, if I understand Willey’s idea.

    “Where once he watched trout swaying in the current, tracking their perfect shadows…” (p. 25 Knopf)

    “He’d stood at such a river once and watched the flash of trout deep in a pool…” (p. 35 Knopf)

    “Once there were brook trout in the streams in the mountains.”

    That repetition, that dwelling on a simple miracle, once there were trout, seems very much the father’s. It is possible that the boy is reciting, like a prayer, something the father told him, that he is keeping the story alive by telling it back to his dead father. But I don’t think so. The boy himself never knew trout or deep mossy glens or beauty like that. It’s hard to miss and hold on to something you never knew. Those stories would have been abstractions, without “referents” for him, you might say. And the voice in that passage is so elegiac, the memories so sensory, the tone so full of loss, I can only hear it as the father’s voice, maybe his final thoughts, disembodied now, the last fragment of a sacred thing “slowly fading from memory.” I’m not sure what’s “message-y” about it, such that you would look for an alternate explanation. It seems to me pretty much the premise of the book – the world is beautiful: imagine losing it.


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    28 May 2012 at 8:40 pm #1364

    Many thanks, Willey and Laurie Stewart, for taking the time to read and respond to my piece. I’ve been sicker than a junkyard dog on arsenic but am feeling somewhat better though not with enough energy to revisit my piece and respond to your posts. I’ll get back to you, hopefully.


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    29 May 2012 at 8:50 pm #1390

    Willey,

    I think your reading of “you” in the last paragraph is sound. I also think that something like your interpretation of “they” is one that I should first include in my web piece before settling on my “they” as perhaps the stronger interpretation for these reasons:

    * The father’s emphasis on the power of goodness, his telling the boy they can talk to each other after the man’s dead, the woman’s comment about the “breath of God” passing from man to man through all of time all move the story in a hopeful direction as it ends. If this novel is McCarthy’s love letter to John Francis, and I think it is, would he stress such hopefulness only to quickly conclude with a short passage of complete hopelessness, a world totally gone and dead to any further life? I think not.

    * The father’s advice to his son throughout is never give up, keep hoping, keep struggling as good guys who carry the fire no matter how grim things are. If the last passage means total loss, then it overwhelms any positives that the story has been reflecting. It’s like the narrator dongs in with big knell of death.

    * “She would talk to him sometimes about God.” To me a key word here is “sometimes.” It suggests a family settled in enough for the woman to be able to occasionally talk with the boy about spiritual matters, her focus being a God of all time.

    * Even if the “they” in the last passage refers only to trout, where did the veteran’s family go? I don’t think we can conclude that they just vanished or are dead. There has been just too much emphasis on them as the boy’s new family, a kind of saving grace. It seems narratively logical that they would settle somewhere, perhaps in a deep glen, a place between high hills or mountains that might not have felt the full effect of the apocalypse.

    * Your view of “they” holds McCarthy to too strict a grammatical standard . As Rick Wallach has pointed out in his essay “Theater, Ritual and Dream in the Border Trilogy” http://www.writecorner.com, McCarthy does remarkable things with perspective, sometimes blurring or recombining identities. This effect also occurs in THE ROAD when the man and boy try to return the thief’s belongings, and both blur in the pronoun “he.” (I don’t have my text with me to the cite page no. for this). Anyway I believe “they” means both trout and people like the boy’s new family.

    * Your reading of “they” as trout and a world lost excludes the possibility of evolutionary regeneration. Yes, those trout are gone and their world can’t be made right again. But what about the possibility of new species (if not of trout some other fish) developing where things were older than man? Remember, rain and snow still fall giving water, the life blood of life. A new world here seems to me dimly possible. But when all is said and done, life and family and apocalypse and God all amount to ultimate mystery, which may be the closest McCarthy has come to ultimate meaning. I really believe it’s the closest any of us can come.

    Laurie Stewart,

    As you aver, there is an elegaic tone to the last passage, a sense of great loss, but the last sentence undercuts that tone: “In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they hummed of mystery.” I see endurance here, a continuity of things in a busy rhythm of life (“hummed”). Even if “they” means only trout, other things “hummed” with the mystery of existence. McCarthy won’t leave us with just one conclusion of total loss. He gives us two possibilities: a world in bad shape that may die and one that may yet again live.


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    30 May 2012 at 1:16 pm #1407

    willey
    Member

    Laurie,

    You’re spot-on up there. No, the voice doesn’t sound like the boy’s, or what we’d imagine the boy’s voice being (for starters, from what books or what conversations did he learn all those words). That’s the strange thing about the third-person: the words can be the author’s while the experience is the character’s. I agree that the voice can’t be the boy’s. And I don’t see the boy there in the paragraph. I can do some work to bring him in, but that’s not on the page. Obviously that fact confounds and negates my speculative reading.

    But even in your analysis, you want to make a leap and possibly read that last passage as the man’s voice. But the man is dead. And, far as I can remember, the voice continued. Which means the voice is authorial. Nothing new there for McCarthy.

    We seem to agree that the passage has a message. “Message-y” is perhaps overly pejorative. The passage is beautiful. But, if it’s purely authorial, as it seems to be, it’s only re-emphasizing what the author already showed us through the character in all those other beautiful passages you found (thanks for finding those, by the way).

    So it concludes with the author’s elegy to a lost or fading world. That scrapes against my Chekhovian disposition, up through Faulkner and O’Connor and Suttree, that the fiction writer’s job is to work through a character. Here, the characters are gone, only the author and you are left. Perhaps that’s classic Cormackian subversion. Perhaps that’s giving my disposition some necessary friction. Yes, yes it is.

    Still, it’s no Suttree.


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    30 May 2012 at 1:27 pm #1408

    willey
    Member

    BobbyK,

    Thanks for the thoughtful response. Glad you’re feeling better.

    I don’t see how the last sentence undercuts the elegy. It enhances the elegy. Now, if the sentence read “live,” “are,” and “hum,” that would undercut the elegy. But it doesn’t. The tense never changes. We’re still talking about things as they “once” were.

    The boy and the veteran’s family go where all characters go at the end of books–nowhere–they just go there one paragraph early.


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    30 May 2012 at 4:12 pm #1410

    Willey,

    Interestingly, you take me to task on only one and a half of my reasons for my position on that last paragraph. Perhaps you don’t see the novel as a love letter to John Francis that would appropriately end on a hopeful note. Nor do you give Cormac’s language and grammar in that passage any latitude beyond the literal. Certainly he would capable of giving us two situations in two different times using past tense, a past tense past and a past tense present.

    Anyway, you and Laurie have helped me to see that I need to be less emphatic about that last passage and qualify my positive idea of it. I can’t do that right now because I’m in WI and don’t have my web program operative, but I hope to make it so sometime this summer and will be slightly revising the last part of my essay. If this thread’s still alive, I’ll announce the revision here or in another thread.


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    31 May 2012 at 1:39 am #1414

    willey
    Member

    All right, BK. I’m too tired to go point-by-point, so I’ll just try to cover what I see as the most important bits. Let’s see:

    Yes, the father emphasizes goodness, as likely would any father who’ll shortly have to convince himself, and his ten-year-old son, that he’s to be left alone in a world such as they’ve just passed through. And, yes, he tells the boy that the boy can speak to him after he’s dead, but remember that he says “you’ll have to make it like talk that you imagine.” Also, immediately following the breath of God passing from man to man, we have white space, and after the white space we have a passage about brook trout, and how, in the literal reading which you grant, in the “deep glens where they [the brook trout] lived all things were older than man.” We’re talking, then, about things older than man and thus older than any breath of God passing from man to man. You touched on this idea above when you spoke of ultimate mystery. Is ultimate mystery being the “closest any of us can come” a hopeless idea? If not, then why is the last paragraph absent your reading of the last sentence a hopeless paragraph?

    Yes, the father pushes the son to keep going, as he must, but the last paragraph does not mean total loss. And it does not mean total loss to the boy. We have left the boy in the hands of the man and woman. The word “sometimes” you decode quite astutely–it tells us they are developing a routine of some sort, settling as you say, and we, like the father, must pass him on to them and leave him.

    As Laurie said, the last paragraph is elegiac, but it is not a total loss nor is it a death knell. It speaks of loss, yes, and also of death–or extinction, more probably–but it also speaks of mystery which underlies life and therefore underlies loss and death also. And the last paragraph as a work of art and as a work of beauty is in itself inherently a thing of hope.

    Again, I never said the world was lost. We’d have to agree on a definition of world and surely any definition of that world would have to include the actual terrestrial planet on which stretches the road on which the boy and man walk. I’m saying the paragraph speaks of a loss of brook trout, though brook trout surely signify aspects of the world as we know it, the loss of which we have amply witnessed for ourselves through the book. My literal reading of “brook trout” as the antecedent to the plural pronoun does not exclude the possibility of evolutionary anything, though I don’t see what that has to do with the antecedent for “they.”


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    • This reply was modified 1 year, 10 months ago by  willey.
    31 May 2012 at 6:08 am #1416

    cantona
    Member

    The gifts that writers give the ones they love, eh? Hemingway wrote ‘Cat in the Rain’, as a “tribute to Hadley.” Gee, thanks, hon! Though nowhere near as nasty as ‘Cat’, ‘The Road’ is an ambiguous tribute to his son; to all sons in fact. Hemingway says some interesting things about drawing from real life experiences ( check out the Nick Adams story ‘On Writing’). He always believed that a real life situation could act as catalyst for a story , but after that everything else was made up. I think The Road is a little bit like that.

    As for the ending, I agree with those who see it as elegiac. But what exactly it elegises remains unclear. In my view, the “once there was’ could be prior to the father’s reminiscenses of his childhood – earlier on in the book he remembers a fishing trip with an uncle (echoes of Nick Adams here) where the memory of the idyll is spoiled by “a dead perch lolling up in the clear water. Yellow leaves.” Yellow is not a good colour in modern pastoral ( D. H. Lawrence used this color a lot to signify decay and sickness). The “once there was” could be a never was or, at least’ refers to before European settlement – for that matter, before any kind of human settlement. Yep, there is something primordial about this description. It reminds me a little of how certain movies leave the scene of men and women in conflict to end with a shot of green trees and clear blue sky. A peopleless pastoral.


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    31 May 2012 at 9:38 am #1417

    Willey,

    You make a good case and I believe we’re both closer to agreeing on that last paragraph than we may think. Anyway, I’ve got my work cut out for me in revising my essay view of the passage. Thanks for your and Laurie’s insightful challenges.


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    31 May 2012 at 6:52 pm #1418

    Glass
    Member

    Bob, the possibility of the echo of the man delivering the boy into the world and McCarthy perhaps being present at the birth of his own son John Francis is interesting. In addition, you write that “for by this time most American men were present at childbirth,” calling to mind a somewhat parallel yet contra behavior McCarthy called attention to in the Vanity Fair interview when he stated “Most people don’t ever see anyone die. It used to be if you grew up in a family you saw everybody die. They died in their home with everyone gathered around.”

    Speaking of autobiographical echoes, and I don’t know if this qualifies or not, but it seems to me that it could: in the NY Times interview with Woodward in 1992, McCarthy casually mentions that most of his friends from the old days in Knoxville are dead. I believe there is similar verbiage in The Road when the boy asks the man about friends from the old days and the man bluntly notes that they are all dead.

    Hope you are on the mend, Bob, and thanks for sharing your article. The endnotes are also really good. I love to read interesting notes, definitely an art in itself.

    Peter


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    01 Jun 2012 at 11:54 am #1427

    Thanks, Peter. Do you happened to have the page no. for that part about all the man’s friends now dead? And what edition are you using? I used the paperback for my essay. The reason I’m asking is that I’d like to add that part to my piece and of course attribute it to you. Dumb me, I didn’t bring my novel copy to WI.

    Bob G.


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    01 Jun 2012 at 1:07 pm #1428

    Glass
    Member

    Bob, it’s on page 59 of the 287-page paperback version of The Road, Vintage Books, First Vintage International Edition, 2006, New York. Probably the same one you are using. Here’s the bit I was recalling:

    Did you have any friends?
    Yes. I did.
    Lots of them?
    Yes.
    Do you remember them?
    Yes. I remember them.
    What happened to them?
    They died.
    All of them?
    Yes. All of them. (59)


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    01 Jun 2012 at 8:32 pm #1431

    Many thanks, Peter. I’ll try to work this into my revised essay. Still having a devil of a time with the novel’s last paragraph.


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    01 Jun 2012 at 10:36 pm #1434

    Bob,
    Thanks for being so gracious with those of us who took up some of your points, especially about that last paragraph, and for giving us the opportunity to wrestle with it along with you.

    Willey,
    >>the last paragraph as a work of art and as a work of beauty is in itself inherently a thing of hope.<<   Nicely put.

    >>it also speaks of mystery which underlies life and therefore underlies loss and death<<   Yes, exactly, to my way of reading, and I think also to Bob’s. Reminds me of the ‘Deeper Magic from Before the Dawn of Time’ in CS Lewis’s Narnia stories. You have become quite the champion of this paragraph which so chafed you earlier.

    Then you say The Road is no Suttree. But who is this first person “I” who appears in the last paragraph speaking of the grim huntsman and slavering, soul-hunting, crazy-eyed hounds oh fly them, after Suttree has, one way or another, left the scene? It doesn’t sound like Suttree. It strikes me as the author stepping in at the end the way you feel he does in The Road. But I don’t seem to mind that.

    “What could a child know of the darkness of God’s plan? Or how flesh is so frail it is hardly more than a dream.” One of my favorite lines from Suttree I just re-stumbled upon, and all of a sudden it sounds like something from The Road…


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    02 Jun 2012 at 8:31 am #1442

    wesmorgan
    Member

    Bob: The quote that Peter sent from the paperback (287-page edition) of The Road appears on page 50 of the hardback (241-page edition).

    The Woodward (1992) quote: “‘MOST OF MY FRIENDS FROM those days are dead,’ McCarthy says. We are sitting in a bar in Juarez, discussing “Suttree,” his longest, funniest book, a celebration of the crazies and ne’er-do-wells he knew in Knoxville’s dirty bars and poolrooms” appears on page 36 of the April 19, 1992 issue of The New York Times Magazine.


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    02 Jun 2012 at 10:27 am #1445

    Willey and Laurie,

    I want to attribute your points on the last paragraph to you personally in my revised essay. Willey, what is your real full name? Laurie, I assume your name is the same. Right? I’ll also acknowledge Forum pseudonyms.

    Wes,
    Very nice to hear from you. An I want to attribute your part about the Woodward essay.

    To all three of you,

    Thanks much for helping me revise my piece. Three heads are better than my one hoary, feeble one.

    Bob G.


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    02 Jun 2012 at 10:44 am #1449

    Yes, that’s my name. Thanks.


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    04 Jun 2012 at 12:15 pm #1478

    willey
    Member

    Bobby, my name is Brenden. Last name is above, or to the left. I’ll second Laurie’s comments above re: your graciousness in this thread.

    Laurie, interesting point about Suttree. It would take a bit more digging to parse that “I.” I seem to recall Suttree in fact seeing a man and hellhounds (or hellish hounds) in a dream somewhere in the book. Suttree’s thoughts are occasionally rendered in the first person throughout. But here…?

    McCarthy does seem to like these sorts of endings wherein the point of view shifts. He does it in Outer Dark too. Something about how you ought to warn a blind man before setting him off down a road with crocodiles and lord knows what else waiting on him.


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    04 Jun 2012 at 2:38 pm #1482

    wesmorgan
    Member

    The hounds and the waterboy in the penultimate paragraph of Suttree are foreshadowed in a scene at the old mansion house: “Outside darkness has begun and the hounds’ voices are chimes in the distance that toll seven and cease. They wait for the waterbearer to come but he does not come, and does not come” (p. 136). Then at the end of the novel: “When he looked back the waterboy was gone. An enormous lank hound had come out of the meadow by the river like a hound from the depths and was sniffing at the spot where Suttree had stood” (p. 471). It does not seem to me that Suttree is the narrator in either instance. And it is even more evident in the next and last paragraph of the novel as Laurie has pointed out. But is the “I” intended to be the anonymous narrator of the book or McCarthy the author?


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    04 Jun 2012 at 2:42 pm #1483

    Brendan and Laurie:

    My aim in revising is to give your views of that last passage and mine all pretty much equal weight. Unlike my earlier assertive views on that part, I now plan on mainly asking questions about it to close the essay. Thanks again for your insights.

    Bob G.


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    05 Jun 2012 at 1:24 pm #1500

    willey
    Member

    Wes, Suttree is most certainly not the narrator of either passage. I didn’t mean to suggest I thought so. But there are times in the book when the point of view shifts from third to first, and the point of view, now in first, is still clearly Suttree’s. For instance, when he’s looking at the photoalbum on 129-30 (starts with a “we” on 129). This technique has its forebears in two novels which seem to have influenced McCarthy and Suttree in particular: Ulysses, and Katherine Anne Porter’s Pale Horse, Pale Rider.

    That’s indeed the passage on 136. Thanks for finding that. But I’d argue that here we are indeed in Suttree’s point of view. (Although you simply said he wasn’t the narrator, on which agree, so perhaps we agree here too.) Suttree is standing in the dining room “in silent recognition of the somewhat illustrious dead. Large companies seated. A fat marcassin to adorn the board…” That seems to me like we’re in Sut’s POV and witnessing his fantasy over the paragraph that follows. So the hounds and the waterbearer are things he is thinking of, unless somewhere between the large companies/marcassin and the hounds/waterbearer the narrator (or author) has silently and without indication taken over the fantasy.

    Then Sut leaves and we get this description of him: “Reprobate scion of doomed Saxon clans, out of a rainy daydream surmised.” Isn’t that his rainy daydream, the one we just witnessed? It’s a rainy day, he has just had a daydream, this is how he emerges. Seems to be his point of view.

    The POV is less clear in that penultimate paragraph. As the car moves and the landscape descriptions seem to follow suit, we could be in Sut’s POV. We weren’t at the start of the scene, but we were, for the most part at least, in the paragraph after the boy emerges. But after he gets into the car, we have this oddity: “Behind him the city lay smoking…When he looked back the waterboy was gone.” For this to be Sut’s POV, he either has to see the city behind, which he can’t if he’s not looking back, or he simply has to know it’s there smoking, which seems possible. My point is that the POV here is tricky. Given the context, the POV in the last paragraph could be Suttree’s, which mean the “I” is he, but given the content…I dunno.

    Two other references to hounds and hunters are important here. The first comes in the italicized prologue, page 5:

    “…but lo the thing’s inside and can you guess his shape?…a hunter with hounds or do bone horses pull his deathcart…”

    I’ve never particularly thought that was Suttree’s POV or narration either. Always seemed to me that the author or narrator were taking us up on the bridge at about the time of night when the suicide-jumper took his leap. If it indeed isn’t Sut’s POV, then we’ve got (death’s?) hounds both in and out of old Sut’s purview.

    Then there are the possum-hunters and their hounds, page 358:

    “They’d heard hounds coursing on the ridge behind them and the hunters hallooed from the dark before they came up. Two figures shambling in from the night like bad news, bearing a lighted lantern by its long bail…They squatted on their haunches side by side like buzzards and smiled around.”

    In addition to creeping Sut out in a campfire scene that’s the countrified cousin of a few in Blood Meridian, these guys effectively foreshadow death’s arrival in camp a few pages later. (Also known as the time Sut couldn’t bring himself to abandon a young innocent piece so the author did him a solid and dropped a wall of slate on her.)

    At any rate, I don’t know what this all tells else about that “I” in the last paragraph, though it certainly informs the hounds and the huntsman. The dream referenced there, with them thus “slaverous and wild,” hasn’t been shown us before.

    As for Pale Horse, Pale Rider, maybe this has been covered here before, but here’s a passage it sure seems McCarthy must have read. Miranda is in the hospital with influenza, and she’s in the midst of the fever hallucinations that make up much of the novel’s backend (page 249 of the Modern Library version):

    “The fog parted and two executioners, white clad, moved towards her pushing between them with marvelously deft and practiced hands the misshapen figure of an old man in filthy rags whose scanty beard waggled under his opened mouth as he bowed his back and braced his feet to resist and delay the fate they had prepared for him. In a high weeping voice he was trying to explain to them that the crime of which he was accused did not merit the punishment he was about to receive; and except for this whining cry there was silence as they advanced. The soiled cracked bowls of the old man’s hands were held before him beseechingly as a beggar’s as he said, ‘Before God I am not guilty,’ but they held his arms and drew him onward, passed, and were gone.”


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    • This reply was modified 1 year, 10 months ago by  willey.
    09 Jun 2012 at 8:31 pm #1544

    As promised, I’ve included information from Laurie Steward, Wes Morgan, Peter Weber, and Brenden Willey in my revised essay “Autobiographical Echoes in THE ROAD, http://www.writecorner.com. If you see any typos, let me know. Thanks again for your insights.


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    10 Jun 2012 at 9:47 pm #1545

    Glass
    Member

    It’s an honor to be included in your article. Thank you, Bob. I hope people will continue to engage with you and your essay here. Been thinking of the last paragraph and the many ideas in your piece and the comments in this thread. Other examples of the questions “Where is this?” and “When is this?” in McCarthy have gotten my attention. Don’t really have anything new to add, just that these complexities of space and time in CM are of continuing fascination and obviously so well done that it’s amazing how he can pull it off so often. Thanks again, Bob.


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    12 Jun 2012 at 2:56 pm #1550

    Thanks for your kind words, Peter. As I implied at the start of my piece, I hope in time we’ll get more biographical info on McCarthy relative to his work. Of course, the really definitive biography can’t come until well after he passes and even then it will be difficult to do.

    I’ve wondered what kind of health our author is in now. He looked really good for the Oprah program, but that was 5 years ago, and pictures of him since then show that age is working fairly hard on him. I hope not seriously.


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    13 Jun 2012 at 12:43 pm #1554

    willey
    Member

    Likewise, Bob. I look forward to the next one…


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    23 Jun 2012 at 8:37 pm #1629

    Anonymous

    Bob, I’m looking forward to reading your essay, which I’m about to head over to. Sorry I never was able to get around to that essay on TR that you asked me to. I ended up with a book project, coming out via Salem Press in September, one that includes pieces by a number of Society folk. . . . You also might be interested to know that about a year ago (near the end of Spring Semester 2011), out of the blue I was emailed by biographer Charles Shields regarding my thoughts about a McCarthy bio (I assume he likely emailed others in the Society, too, and assume he has been or is at the least a Forum browser). He’s the guy who wrote the recent bio on Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. I have no idea if he is proceeding to “tempt the attempt” as Milton’s Satan puts it, but found the whole possibility interesting. . . . Sorry to hear about your health issue, but hope all’s well now. Had one of my own, a surgery, in May, and am doing splendidly.

    Best,
    Dave


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    23 Jun 2012 at 8:50 pm #1630

    Anonymous

    One more thing I just discovered when accessing your article: Julie L. Moore is an ex-colleague of mine from roughly 20-22 years ago (“’twas in another lifetime”). We’re still occasionally in touch, and I’ve read some of her poetry, including, I believe, the one your website gave an award to.


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    26 Jun 2012 at 2:59 pm #1647

    Great to hear from you, Dave. I don’t know Charles Shields, strange because I’ve read a fair amount of Vonnegut. If Shields thinks he can do a McCarthy bio, he’ll surely find it harder and more challenging than his Vonnegut. But I continue to hope someone prominent in our Society will do the McCarthy. Wes, you, Rick, Dianne–to name a few– all seem to me eminently qualified.

    Glad you’ve been checking out Writecorner Press, e.g. Julie Moore. Also happy to hear your surgery went well. I been laid up most of the summer, first with a severe cold, then with an arthritis flare-up in my rt. knee. It’s been damaged so much it’s a fuggin miracle I can still walk with the blame thing. Then my blood sugar hit the roof. A crash diet decreased the sugar, thankfully, so far w/o insulin. I’m now paying the price for years of competitive basketball, boozing and smoking, and I’m still a damn fool likker drinker, though much less so now.

    Hope your son and family are doing well.

    Warm regards,

    Bob G.


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