Saturday, November 10, 2007

Norman Mailer Died This Morning

It's ironic that shortly after Norman Mailer and J. Michael Lennon's On God was released, Mailer's questions regarding God could have been answered. The Pulitzer prize winning author Norman Mailer died this morning of acute renal failure, according to the AP.

Of of my writing mentors, Dr. Lennon (as I and my classmates call him, but known as J. Michael Lennon to the literary community) is Mailer's archivist and biographer. I envy that Dr. Lennon gets to tell the tale of this revolutinary man who dabbled in so many creative things during his ever-so exciting life.

Most people discount Wikipedia as not being a reliable source, but I checked today and Dr. Lennon updated the Norman Mailer entry to include his death, so I know that Mailer's entry is accurate. There is a wonderful tribue to Norman Mailer from the AP I found on Yahoo news, and I am sure as the day goes on and the Sunday papers will have beautiful spreads and collages about this literary figure and his life. But here is a snippet from the above-mentioned source that displays what a fascinating life this man had:

"Mailer built and nurtured an image over the years as pugnacious, streetwise and high-living. He drank, fought, smoked pot, married six times and stabbed his second wife, almost fatally, during a drunken party. He had nine children, made a quixotic bid to become mayor of New York, produced five forgettable films, dabbled in journalism, flew gliders, challenged professional boxers, was banned from a Manhattan YWHA for reciting obscene poetry, feuded publicly with writer Gore Vidal and crusaded against women's lib..

...But as Newsweek reviewer Raymond Sokolov said in 1968, "in the end it is the writing that will count." (Source: AP, Nov. 9, article by Richard Pyle.)

Mailer is known for many novels and creative nonfiction: I created an Amazon Link search results for : Norman Mailer

For more on Norman Mailer, just Google him. There is so much to read and learn. I particularly love the counterculture era and guys like Ginsberg, so it is way cool that Mailer was part of that. Sometimes I wish was alive in those days-- I would have fit in. That's why I wish I had the chance to meet Norman Mailer before he passed away, but I know that in small ways I am already influenced and touched by him. He is a writer I want to emulate- serious about the writing, but also takes a stand on issues he believes in... and also likes to take riskes, change gears when you least expect it and above all, enjoy life- Norman Mailer did a little bit of everything and that's how my life is, random.

At our January residency of the Wilkes University MA in Creative Writing program I am sure we will have a tribute to Mailer, who was a board member. I know that many of the Wilkes students who have been in the program longer than me have met Norman Mailer at his Mailer conventions. I know that Dr. Lennon will make sure that America and the World remembers Mailer and all the things he gave us.

While trying to find a few pics, I came across this really cool writer's mugs page. You can get this print on a mug or in a frame:

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