Re: RARA-AVIS: Willeford/Himes

Date: 01 Jan 2001

Charles's obit did not describe him as the man who wrote "Grimhaven." I know better than to try to stop a thread, but here's my two cents: Charles didn't want to write a series, use stock characters and format plots. You could look it up in his essay in Dennis McMillan's compilation, "Writing and Other Blood Sports." So he wrote "Grimhaven" to get out of his St. Martin's obligation. Then he went on to write three more Hoke novels, each different enough to challenge him as he wrote. Different people, different settings. I'm not averse to making a dollar (I'm an American). But I'm not Miss Mary, hearing that gunblast in Ketchum as the clang of a cash register, either. If I thought Charles wanted "Grimhaven" published, I would look for a publisher. But he didn't. I won't. My sons and 14-year-old nephew have had chips surgically implanted in their cerebral cortexes, so don't look for it to be published in the foreseeable future. You have first amendment rights, too. If you want to write the Vatican to start the beatification process for the people who were selling Xerox copies like watermelons off a pickup truck, that's up to you. If you want to know what he thought about Chester Himes, look for the article
"Chester Himes and His Novels of Absurdity" in American Visions: The Magazine of Afro- American Culture, Washington, D.C.: Vol. 3, No. 4, Aug 1988. Magazine no longer published, but was sponsored by the Smithsonian. There's another article about Himes in "Writing and Other Blood Sports." Hope this clarifies a couple things. Happy new year. Betsy Willeford

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