RARA-AVIS: Guides and Willeford

From: Mbdlevin@aol.com
Date: 31 Jul 2001

John Williams writes:

<< The reason the St James Guide
 has no entry on Willeford is because the idiot commissioned to write it
 (i.e. me) missed his deadline. >>

I contributed to the Dictionary of Literary Biography volume on American Hard-Boiled Writers. It too appears to have omissions. Reasons: editor could not get a contributor for a certain writer; contributions did not come in, etc. An original list of writers eventually got cut in half (or by a third). Also, some omissions are explained by the fact that some writers
(e.g., F. Brown, L. Brackett) appear in other volumes of the series.

Graham Powell writes:
<<In fact, I would have to say that Willeford was one of the more
"successful" PBO writers, by which I mean to say that he wrote exactly what he wanted for over 30 years. He never had to give in and do hackwork just for a paycheck.>>

This is not quite true. Willeford did not write corporate brochures, etc., but he did write comments on student papers for years. My guess is that he would've given up teaching if he made more writing. Also, he considered some efforts weaker--quick writes to make money to pay for school (though some good word--"The Woman Chaser" notably--is from this period). He was contracted to do "Off the Wall" (the Son of Sam book)--which was a good project and a good book, but he did it for hire.


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