Thursday, August 27, 2009
My Friend. Five Emails.
(from January 18, 2009...)
My Angel Man,
I'm such a goof I kept thinking Mark was going to Stanford in 2010.
But I am glad you're okay and understand completely how busy you are.
I'm going to be blunt here: go visit your Mom. The broken hip is
always so very tough on the older body, and Anne sounds as though she's
in very good hands, but the pneumonia will be hard on her and my gut
feeling is you should see her. What's Bobby say?
Okay. I just lit a candle for you and her. I will be home tonight ( I
am probably going to my brother's for dinner) but I'm up late so you
may call late with the time difference. And I'll be home tomorrow day
till 3:00, then go the MRI, and home all tomorrow night.
I love you deeply. I kept seeing your face. In fact, I had a dream
about you, very short -- oh my, I just remembered it now -- you were
coming out of a plane, but you were smiling and the press was snapping
pictures so it was a positive dream.
(from January 28, 2009)
We are on a wavelength today. I just sat at the computer to tell you I
had the best time today and love you so much I can't even begin to
find words. You have been the best friend to me always and my brother
and my dream love. Your eyes just sparkle with intelligence and
mischief and kindness and loyalty. I am going to have March 20 as my
goal to come to NYC to hear you read.
Paul, do you know I had only looked at the top half of the front page
of the Times and didn't even see that Updike died! I saw the
publishing piece and went right to that never even glancing down at
the bottom of the front page. Rabbit Run is still one of my favorite
novels and the short story "Separating" in Too Far To Go still breaks
my heart. The ending of it was so daring and so painful. All those
Joan and Richard Maple stories gathered in one collection feel like a
I remember being beside myself with joy when Updike and Cheever
appeared together on the Dick Cavett Show. Oh, I was in heaven.
Anyway, today was superlative!
I keep thinking there was something else you wanted to tell me about
your teaching and I interrupted. Just smack me if I do that again.
Okay. More later. I'm sending all good energy for Friday.
Biggest love to you,
(from February 2, 2009)
Hello Dearest Man,
You are so kind to even remember how I begin to feel on the 4th day.
It was rougher yesterday; today just nausea. But you'll be happy to
know that I went to the 12:15 show of The Wrestler yesterday.
PAUL!!!!! What a movie. What an amazing performance. What direction
and camera work. I think Mickey Rourke is one of the riskiest, best
actors ever. Ever. And Ms. Tomei? Superior. No, the NY/Jersey girl she
does in My Cousin Vinny is very different from this character. You'll
see when you rent it and you must.
I've got to say that 12:15 on a sunny, warm Sunday was probably not
the best time to see The Wrestler. It left me feeling all sorts of
things I can't identify yet. I could feel the sickness in his body,
I'll say that -- the struggle to breathe, nausea. Oh my God, it's a
terrific movie. I'm so glad you told me to see it.
Do call. Sounds as though your lunch was extremely intense. My guess
is that she wants the novel, but also wants you to do more work but
won't commit to a sound, solid contract right this moment? I'm just
guessing.When you're able to talk about it more, I'm here.
I love you lots. More later. Rest. I think I can hear/feel the jet
lag. Love you.
(from April 6, 2009...)
I've been wanting to write a long, coherent, love-filled, chatty email
to you for days. You'll be happy to know I've ordered ALL DeSalvo
books. And thank you so much for the complinent about her being so
Denise Gess. Happy to hear Mark's New Brunswick event went well. I
know. I do so love the Rutgers students, too. I'm just happy for both
I thought of you through my sore thorat/mouth because I know how much
you hate/fear them. I must say the Magic Mouthwash does work. it numbs
the pain so well I'm afraid I'm going to bite my tongue as it sloshes
around. But all is improving, including my mood and my determination
to get on with the business of writing. I've wasted too much time away
from my work. Enough! I say.
I am pleased to announce that I am now tenured, Associate Professor. Yay!
The way the cancer's been proceeding I have some doubt about my
ability to teach in the fall, but it's too soon to tell. The promo will
give me enough disability salary (2/3 of pay) to keep me at this
income level and make it possible to live/ pay bills/ have insurance.
Paul, I love love love the table! It reminds me of the HO table too
but I believe yours is a better table in terms of square nails, patina
etc. Oh, I can't wait to get out there if you'll still have me in
spring. The gift I have for you and M is truly perfect especially now
that I see the table in the room. If I have to hire a driver to get to
you I will! How much are drivers anyway? I will be going to Chatham for
4th of July so that's something to look forward to. A friend has a
small private plane which makes traveling to Chatham easy, fast and
I'm so glad you got your contract. I can't thank you enough for
thinking of me for that anthology. You are a tremendous support.
You've no idea how much it means to me.
Send me your addresses again, too. I don't have an excuse for
misplacing mine -- except chemo brain. Send the NYC and Hamptons. I
can't wait for new CDs!!!! You're my musical mentor, you know. My
I assume you saw B. Cooper's essay in Times mag section was it last
week? Loved it. And did you read that piece on the necessity of the
short story in the Business section yesterday? An unlikely place for
the piece but I loved it. I wish I'd reviewed the Cheever bio; I
reviewed the Donaldson book years ago on him and loved it. I think
this one delves deeper?
Okay, honey. More later. I think of you always too and am so glad
you're in my life!
Love to Mark
your D always xxxxxooooo
(from May 15, 2009...)
Paul, she looks like a famous actress in this one. I'm so glad I got
to meet and spend time with her and that Austen met her, too. She made
spaghetti for us. With meatballs!
If it's any comfort to you, please know that if your Dad said she
looked peaceful, she really was.
I remember feeling so relieved when I arrived at my Mom's and saw my
Dad, truly peaceful, untortured, rested, nearly beatific. I reached out to kiss his face, held it in my hands, amazed at how finally after so many years of suffering and struggle, he'd been released from that body and I could actually see that he
must have sighed, closed his eyes happily and had no pain. That image,
holding him, helped me feel joy for him.
I just called you and left a message on the 917 number. I wanted to
hear your voice and hear you say everything and anything you have to
say. I think I might have the 713 # on my cell phone. I'll have to
There will be much to do tonight and tomorrow. My brother is coming for
a brother/sister dinner, but you know I'm up late so feel free to call
late if you like.
I don't want to bug you, but I want you to know I'm here for you.