The Attentive Eye

By Peter Goldman Introduction to The Attentive Eve May 2002 New York City For our forty-two years together, I have been assuring Helen Dudar that she ought to do a book. For forty-two years, she has assured me that she should not. My argument, reduced to its essence,...

Vietnam: How the War Became the Movie

By William Broyles Jr. Smart July–August 1990 I have been trading war stories with other Vietnam veterans for two decades. I almost never believe the stories they tell me, any more than you should believe mine. I don’t mean these stories aren’t true, just that they...

Agee Unfettered

By Will Blythe The New York Times June 15, 2008 On May 16, 1955, James Agee, 45, died of a heart attack in a New York City taxicab while on the way to his doctor’s office. Elegized by the critic Dwight Macdonald as a literary James Dean, he left behind an...

Hi-Diddely-Dee—The Writer’s Life for Me!

By Joe Flaherty The New York Times March 13, 1977 In an interview after winning the Nobel Prize, Saul Bellow contended that most people don’t pay any mind to writers, and his assessment struck me as correct. This fact was bulldozed home to me in 1969 when, as a...

Attitude Dancing

By Eve Babitz Smart July/August 1989 It used to be that if a place were the hippest and innest and most likely to attract major beauties and stars of our generation, like Helena’s when it opened three or four years ago, you couldn’t keep me out. I mean, I’d move...

Surrogate Family

By J. Anthony Lukas From Birth of a Fan 1993 When I was four years old, my mother took me to my first evening at the theater—The Bumblebee Prince, an operetta by Rimsky-Korsakov, based on a story by Pushkin. By all reports, I was utterly entranced and, when the...

Why You Should

By Eve Babitz Playboy December 1989 My only recommendation to a man who is even remotely thinking about ballroom dancing is to be careful. Unless you have a very large trust fund or a very strong character, don’t begin at Arthur Murray. Once they hook you, they have...

They Can’t Take That Away From Me

By Marcelle Clements From The Dog Is Us 1985 Fred Astaire is my hero, and I don’t care who knows it. “Gimme a break!” sneer the technocrats, the pseudo-dandies with the punk haircuts, all those who favor business lunches and open relationships. Yes, they will mock,...

Jocks Are Lousy Lovers

By Allison Glock GQ April 1995 I met the first boy I ever had sex with at the roller rink. He was a speed skater and could rubber leg, which at the time made him more attractive than the nerdy science-fair boys who had to rent their skates and couldn’t even do the...

My Ears Are Bent

By John Schulian MSNBC 2001 Not a holiday season arrives that I don’t think of a gray, clammy day long ago on Baltimore’s waterfront and a lost soul who told me about the woman who had given him his only gift in years: a Christmas card. It was just the sort of story I...

The American Novel Made Us

By Seymour Krim Playboy June 1969 I was literally made, shaped, whetted and given a world with a purpose by the American realistic novel of the mid- to late 1930s. From the age of 14 to 17, I gorged myself on the works of Thomas Wolfe (beginning with Of Time and the...

Auld Lange Syne

By Luc Sante The New York Observer 1993 If Christmas is designed to bring out the child in everyone, then New Year’s brings out the fool. Sobriety is temporarily fashionable nowadays, so fewer people than usual will wake up this January 1 partly clad, in a strange...