Friday, November 14, 2008

George, Being George Plimpton

An oral biography of my old boss has just been published in NYC by Random House, edited or "choir-mastered" by Nelson Aldrich. One memory that did not make it into Nelson's book:

... George used to write on his grandfather’s typewriter, a massive thing that rose form his desk like an upright piano. I’d say why don’t you get a computer? “A MACHINE?” he’d say. “You know, James, there are many advantages to this typewriter that you may be unaware of. When every once in a while I come to a word and am buffaloed as to whether there should be one ‘t’ or two, I just type three ‘t’s, and the person reading the letter assumes it’s the typewriter.”

The Hitchcock Blonde Imagines Her Own End

"In my imagination, I know exactly how it goes. Bedecked in nothing but a ragged top hat, a pair of cashmere socks and a tremulous snakehipped boy, I finally breathe my quavering last in a secluded riad, ravaged by a life of intellectual and sensual excess. As weeping acolytes pile in to preserve any secreted scraps of unpublished prose, one sobbing lover burrows ‘neath the Nobel, pushes aside the Pulitzer, and nudges away the nest of squeaking ermines to unearth two hundred slim volumes bound by a blood-stained garter and crammed with sloping script.

"Rejoice! The Blonde Journals! The ultimate, intimate insight into the greatest scribe of our time! Finally her iconoclastic, eclectic originality, engaged with every important issue of the age, can be revealed, free from the constraints of society, salary or shame!

"They open a page at random, mewing with moist anticipation, and read: ‘Late train. Cold. Chocolate brazils. Boyd’s AHH. What happened to my blue hat?’"

Read the whole thing by estimable ink-stained friend HERE.