Paging Dorothy Friedman
by Joseph F. Bradburn
IT SEEMS that Dorothy Friedman, author of the lead story in my previous issue, is as mysterious and hard to reach as the woman mentioned in her story. Sample copies I sent to her following publication were returned to me, and upon further checking I was surprised to find she is not even a member of the NAPA at the present time.
Dorothy Friedman, Los Angeles, CA 90027, joined the NAPA in February, 1976, having contacted me as the result of an article in Freelance Writer’s Newsletter by the publisher, Lincoln B. Young. Her name was published in the June 1976 and December 1976 issues of The National Amateur, and the June issue also included her name in the Secretary’s report, under new members.
Her name was included as “dropped” on a copy of the monthly list of changes in membership sent to me by Bernice Spink for the period February 29 to March 31, 1977, but was not listed separately in the Secretary’s report published in the official organ for the same period. Her name was stricken from the membership list in the June issue, however, along with others who had joined the association at the same time.
The article sent to me for publication bears no date, but it does show a different address from the one shown above, which is the one reported to me and used in previous correspondence. On the manuscript is “Dorothy Friedman, Hollywood, CA 90038.” This is the address to which I sent the copies. I haven’t tried the other.
In casual checking of some amateur papers, I found a short poem written by her was published in Typomania No. 44 by Joe Hillis, but that was in October, 1977, after she had already dropped out. I don’t know if other publishers carried her work.
I believe the manuscript bureau should bear the primary responsibility for checking out manuscripts in its care, as to eligibility of the author. Perhaps I should have been more careful to check the membership list myself, and certainly I shall do so in the future. Meanwhile, my experience may also serve as a warning to other publishers who would prefer to devote their time and space to writers still on the list of paid-up members.
It is unusual for me to become concerned about a story I publish, but as I was working on this one it seemed that the author had missed the opportunity to really develop her story to its full potential, especially after starting off so well. For anyone else who is interested, I decided to publish it.
Text of Letter of Comment
DEAR DOROTHY, (copy to Don Henderson)
I am enclosing two copies of Experiment 26 with your story, “Incident in Hollywood.” You will find it substantially as you wrote it, with the exception that I had to break it up into more paragraphs, to give it a little more air.
I believe you should have specified “Hollywood Boulevard” in the first sentence if that is what you meant, rather than just “Hollywood.” I realize that you are so close to it you forget the average reader may not recognize it so easily. Otherwise you could mean all of Hollywood, for all I know.
It seems to me that you have built this story up with good background descriptions and introduction of the characters, but from the moment the two characters meet and should begin to produce some interesting action and reaction, the story falls flat, mostly because Ben turns into a stupid jackass who has no idea how to really approach the woman, or to persuade her to tell her story, if she has one.
Strictly reading your story as written, Ben walks up to the woman’s table and doesn’t even introduce himself. Apparently she does know who he is, so she is willing to get up and dance with him, at least. He finally manages to compliment her a bit by telling her she has interesting eyes. When she replies by saying she likes him, he immediately invites her outside for some air. They go outside and walk for ten minutes, and he still does nothing to find out her mood or history.
After walking a while they stop to kiss, and then walk some more. Finally he says, “You’ve been married,” and she nods. This doesn’t lead to any conversation, even though Ben has been married and divorced twice, and she has been married at least once. I think those marriages and divorces would have furnished enough subject matter to keep them talking all night, if they were really interested in each other.
Without really building up any preliminary, Ben then invites her to come home with him. She studies him for a moment, and no doubt she assumes that, if she does go with him, his next suggestion will be, “Let’s go to bed.” This might not have been completely against her will, but the thought of participating in such an affair with someone who doesn’t understand her turns her off, and she decides to end the relationship at that point.
Her “Goodnight and thank you” when she gets back to her car really means “Goodbye,” as even Ben finally has sense enough to realize. He turns to the arms of a young girl for distraction, where “Want to dance, Beautiful?” “Sure, Handsome” is considered eloquent conversation.
As for the woman, we are left to wonder if she really has an interesting life story to tell or not. Unfortunately, we’ll never know unless we meet her another night, in another bar, with someone a bit more understanding and sympathetic than Ben.
It seems to me that, if Ben was interested in getting close to the woman, he would have talked to the bartenders and waitresses in the club, and found out what interested the woman on the other nights she was at the club. He would probably have started by buying her a drink, and surely would have introduced himself as the owner of the club. He could have flattered her by asking her opinion on some of the facilities in the club, such as the music, the decorations, the food, etc.
This would have developed enough conversational leads to keep them talking for a while, at least. Whether they went walking, or stopped somewhere for a drink or a dance, would depend on their mood. Possibly they would still have wound up at his place, or hers, and still have gone to bed together, but there would have been more justification for it, not just a mindless groping in the dark.
I may have read your intentions on this story completely wrong, so that the lack of finesse on the part of Ben is the very feeling you meant to convey. On the other hand, it would be interesting to see the story written from the other viewpoint, with Ben actually showing some sympathetic intelligence in his handling of the woman, and her responding to his kindness. The only trouble is, you might have a novelette on your hands by that time, instead of a short story.
by Paul Burns
Shadow on the lawn:
Such a stark sky…
All the better
How different it seems
Smooth slate sky
Offers God and man
Gentle, rainy wind.
Tree looks like lyre.
On pine-leaf edge,
Life supporting life.
Staring at young boy:
by Paul Burns
Blend of blues and whites
Slowly turning darker
Until magic comes…
My eyes behold
Men are me
And I am men;
My pain is theirs
My fears and drives
Yearnings and fulfillments
My dreams… theirs…
Not a sound in this snow world…
But, listen! a dog barks
Motor hums… boy cries…
And dripping of
by Paul Burns
I LEFT England with misgivings. My British girl friend and I had quarreled, and I had recently heard a rumor that in Paris there was a construction company that was hiring Americans to work in Algiers, North Africa. I needed a job, so I found myself in the City of Lights, that stifling night in June of 1953.
Too frail for construction work in Algiers (or anywhere else, probably) I pondered the possibility of returning to America. I had rented a room in a fifth-floor walk-up on the Rue le Riche, and was walking back to it – from an evening of very mild debauchery around the English-speaking bars of the Boulevard des Italiens – when it happened.
Far off, somewhere, a clock struck midnight. I shrugged. Not too late. Rather early, in fact, for a 26 year old unattached male to be going home. Sadly – considering my unsuccessful attempts to find European employment – I wondered how far home. Back to Boston? My face wrinkled as I heard my own footfalls on the cobblestone sidewalk. The lonely side streets of Paris were humid, dank-smelling, and very dark tonight. Facades of buildings and apartments appeared decrepit, miserably forlorn, as if they were hosting ancient ghosts. I felt suddenly that I was dead, and wandering through some Parisian catacomb of the netherworld. Then my ears pricked up. Footsteps. Faster, faster; louder, louder.
He was a very tall man, well-groomed and well-dressed. His eyes shone with blazing cosmopolitan knowledge. His teeth dazzled evilly and his words, very French, came out of his mouth too quickly for me to comprehend. With all the good-natured camaraderie of gregarious youth, I attempted pleasant badinage. For a moment or two, as I walked on, he accompanied me, and I thought I had found a friend. Soon enough, however, he started mocking my words (amiable American ones, I thought) and I received the odd impression that he imagined I was a German.
His sounds were super-guttural, like those spoken by Hollywood actors portraying Nazis in Warner Brothers anti-Fascist films. In faltering French I tried to explain what country I came from. But he merely started goose-stepping and laughing diabolically, while he continued piercing the unprotesting Paris air with bogus-German umlauted catcalls. Is that what Frenchmen think English speech sounds like, my feverish brain all at once asked itself. Isn’t he confusing Boston with Berlin?
Then the man lunged at me, and I heard his wine-laden breath mutter, “Le police… l’argent… l’argent… le police!“ I jerked away from his grip and began running. Wildly I turned my head, and caught sight of his large shadow chasing me. Never did my feet start racing so fast, never did my mind burst with such perilous fear. Fortunately, at an intersection close to the Place Vendome, a taxicab rumbled by; I flagged it down, jumped in, slammed the door hard, and barked at the driver, “Allons… vite!… Vite!…”
Needless to say, this unseemly incident precipitated my speedy departure from Paris. It also reminds me, whenever I recall it, that my own language, English (a tongue spoken by more of this world’s inhabitants than any other save Chinese) is the first cousin of a German uncle.
by Nona D. Spath
Where is the little white cloud
Moments ago so lovely and light
In a clear and azure sky
On a day serene and bright?
Is it still in the universe vast,
Pursuing an uncharted way
Down corridors forever to last,
Or lost in oblivion for aye?
Where is the grandiose thought
Which came so brilliant and bright
At the end of a restless day –
Slow hours moving toward night?
Has it gone with the dreams cryptic,
The nebulous musing – the search
For words ethereal and mystic –
Of those who aspire to write?
Editor’s Note: The poem above was sent to me many years ago, and was misplaced for some tirne. The author is no longer among the living, but perhaps she will participate in spirit in this belated publication of her creative effort.
Comments on the Bundle
by Joseph F. Bradburn
Welcome to new publisher Linda P. Warner and the first issue of The Owl’s Nest. With uncle Clarence Prowell to give her tips on printing, she should have no trouble in turning out many fine issues. My files show there was a Hoot Owl Press in NAPA from 1931 to 1963, operated by Ernest M. Pittaro of New York, with The Hoot Owl as one of several titles he used sporadically during that period.
In APC News 137, Harold Segal wonders if Alf Babcock was kidding about having lived in a different house in Cranford, N. J., when the APC met there before. APC News 55 reports Harold among those present at 7 Preston Avenue, so Alf must be right unless someone moved the house to 24 Alan Okell Place. The same issue reports that Alf provided new type for that occasion too – 12 pt. Kennerley instead of today’s 12 pt. Caslon No. 37.
For the second month in a row, Lowell F. Adams uses part of his space in Galley Proof for comments on the previous bundle. He is learning his way around the association, too, and will find that such comment is always welcome. The art work in this issue is also interesting.
In Potpourri No. 8, Guy Miller also comments on some items in the bundles. He has selected one favorite from each bundle to comment on, somewhat in the style J. Ed. Newman used to promote with his “Postcard of the Month” proposal several years ago.
Phil Parr gives us two issues of Aspect Inquirer as he prepares to start work on his history of amateur journalism in Australia and New Zealand. He is now enjoying his winter season, with time on his hands to experiment with printing on leather, chess games and other incidentals.
George E. Cranch tells an interesting story of his experiences in fixing up an old spinning wheel for his wife, as well as others which were later entrusted to his care. He also tells of his pleasure in reading all the monthly bundles, and then attending the convention and trying to match up the members with their publications.
Rhoda W. Werner in Hi-A-Line reports on her trip to Peru to engage in mission work with the natives. She found the people delightful, but one of the best parts of the trip was coming home again to catch up on the NAPA bundles.
Also reporting on a mission trip, to Yucatan, is the 24th issue of Visiting Fireman, which marks a visit of the Keffers to the home of Delvia and Talitha Stickler. Willametta promises a fuller account of the mission trip to be in Literary Newsette, and also does a little missionary work of her own by signing Talitha up as a family member of the NAPA.
Larry Switzer is attempting a different kind of missionary or evangelical work with the first issue of By Faith. He is contemplating national circulation of this magazine to publish stories of people who have been healed or cured of sickness, chronic illness or other problems through faith and trust in God. This first issue describes two of Larry’s experiences, as well as some general comments. He will also include poems of an inspirational nature, space permitting.
FIVE HUNDRED COPIES of this amateur journal are being printed, featuring some material from the NAPA Manuscript Bureau. To satisfy postal requirements, be it noted that this journal is distributed to members of the National Amateur Press Association through the monthly bundle. Other copies may be sent first or third class by the publisher-member, who is Joseph F. Bradburn, La Plata, Md. 20646. This journal is handset, and printed on an 8×12 C. & P. press.