RE: RARA-AVIS: Marijane Meaker: Robison

From: Todd Mason (
Date: 29 Aug 2003

SPRING FIRE is discussed during the interview...the Gold Medal editor Dick
[forgotten] suggests that if she writes about lesbians, they be college-age rather than high-schoolers, as I recall. (Not only her first big hit but her first book of any kind--and GM's first lesbian novel?) I seem to recall from ME ME ME ME ME that she was already working at Gold Medal in some editorial or admin capacity.

Meeker seems to have more faulty information about her floating around than most not-terribly-obscure living writers, perhaps in part because of her love for compartmentalizing her literary life and playing with pseuds. Just try to get a good accounting of her novels to agree with almost any other you can find. (I've had sources stating baldly that she never used "Ann Aldrich" on fiction, and others, I believe correctly, implying or stating quite the opposite, for example.)

HIGHSMITH has at least two great laughs in it, and at least one pretty breathtaking passage (leaving aside the account of the afternoon Knox Burger
[probably misspelled by me] called to say that he was taking Meeker's new book and Fawcett was reprinting another and in one sentence she was $8000 1960s dollars richer...particularly when contrasted with the smaller advances Highsmith was getting from her theoretically prestigious publishers). Together with ME ME ME ME ME, the two books still leave the nosy reader with a number of questions...including the quibble that the
"Romance of the 1950s" occurs almost entirely in the early '60s (but the milieu in which they meet and the social dynamics which they operate in are still of the '50s).

Looking forward to her jumping in. Wonder if we can entice her to stick around.

TM, up for both western and sfnal months.

-----Original Message----- From: Michael Robison [mailto:] Subject: Re: RARA-AVIS: Marijane Meaker (and "Ann Bannon") will be on NPR's FRESH AIR today.

Thanks for the link to the Meaker interview, Todd. I just finished her first big hit, SPRING FIRE. Did she say anything in the interview about that book? I've heard that the lesbian subject matter was requested by the publishers. I'd like to hear how much influence they had over what she wrote.

I've started her HIGHSMITH book. It's good. I'm normally a lot more interested in the fiction than the writers' lives, but the book has got a lot of good stuff in it. Her writing is as good or better than ever.

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