RARA-AVIS: Re: Red Hot & The Other Macdonald

From: a.n.smith ( ansmith@netdoor.com)
Date: 18 Sep 2000

> Which means MacDonald probably was inspired -- to imagine and write
> about lives and lifestyles he didn't live himself. It's just that the
> new bio apparently (I haven't read it, I'm just basing this on what
> you guys said) fails to tell us what that inspiration was. Perhaps it
> was only the next pay cheque, perhaps there was no deeper "there"
> there. In which case, is it the bio or the life that's disappointing?

The other Macdonald, Ross, also had a nice biography out recently, by Tom Dolan. John D. pops up several times because he didn't like the close call on names, and he didn't like Ross using any colors in his titles.

I was interested in the Ross bio because I'm always curious as to how writers start their publishing careers and how it develops from there. Luckily, Ross was also weird enough with a weird enough wife to be interesting for 300 pages. I mean weird in the good way. It was really almost a dual biography because of Margaret--their lives, both everyday and literary, were tied so closely together.

As far as "exciting" lives, I don't know. I read the Edgar Rice Burroughs bio recently, all the swashbuckling going on there, and thought, "So What?" But the Ross Mac bio kept me reading all day. A good biographer can make any life seem interesting. Something I've heard about the A&E Biography show and VH1's Behind The Music: no matter who's on, they make it interesting to watch.

Neil Smith

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