Notes (March #7)

From “The Myth Maker” by Bruce Weber:

Twenty-five years after the publication of his first novel, Welcome to Hard Times, E. L. Doctorow is reminiscing about a letter from one of its readers. […] “The letter was from Texas,” Doctorow says, “and obviously from an elderly woman, written in a shaky hand. She wrote, ‘Young man, when you said that Jenks enjoyed for his dinner the roasted haunch of a prairie dog, I knew you’d never been west of the Hudson. Because the haunch of a prairie dog wouldn’t fill a teaspoon.'”

Doctorow pauses and grins, the professional storyteller timing a punch line:

“She had me. I’d never seen a prairie dog. So I did the only thing I could do. I wrote back and I said, ‘That’s true of prairie dogs today, Madam, but in the 1870’s. . . .'”

E. L. Doctorow: “I subscribe to what Henry James tries to indicate when he gives that wonderful example of a young woman who has led a sheltered life walking along beside an army barracks and hearing a snatch of soldier’s conversation coming through the window. On the basis of that, said James, if she’s a novelist she’s capable of going home and writing a perfectly accurate novel about army life. I’ve always subscribed to that idea.”

Rev 22:11: “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.”

Films seen today: The Ones Below (2015), Logan (2017)