I admit, I don’t know shit about Norman Mailer. A little before my time, I guess, or perhaps I’m just ignorant (although you’d think that 16 years of private schooling, 4 of those as an English major, would have at least provided an introduction). But I’m finding some of the coverage of his death fascinating.
Salon.com put together a list of other folks’ impressions of Mailer, from throughout his life. I didn’t get through the entire 5-page list (I have things to do today. Among them, I plan to fix a gutter and go downtown to take a picture. I may not get to the gutter.), but this comment, from Arthur Miller, stood out:
Since I was at a time when I was hammering out my place in the world, I made few friends then, and Mailer struck me as someone who seemed to want to make converts rather than friends, so our impulses, essentially similar, could hardly mesh. (I am at the age when it is best to be charitable.) In any event, although we lived for years in the same neighborhood, our paths rarely crossed.
It’s really the command of language that impressed. I hope one day to create a character who can speak like that. No, I plan to.