Crane Reduced to Peddling Shoelaces
Bilious Bull Writes of His Pitiful Existence in the Land of Rice and Saki
by Burton Crane
TOKYO (Feb. 10) – Frankly I don’t see how I’m going to find time for printing. Right now I am trying to throw seven more chapters of my book (Minority Report on Japan) into shape for publication. Six have gone off and I have to write four more. Another book is already planned, an encyclopedia on Japanese customs. A couple of well-received books now would almost double my lecture fees on my return. Have just done a yarn for the Atlantic.
We brought 2800 pounds of our own stuff and seem to be settled for a fairly long stay. Sylvia is due out here in July when she finishes Wellesley. The Nash arrived – one of the big ones; looks like a million. Only one other Nash in Japan, I believe.
We have a foreign-style house with living room, two bedrooms, dining room, study for me, and servants quarters. We have the same couple we had from 1933 to 1937 plus two part-time men, cleaner and gardener.
Although I have no regular hours, I find I must stick to some, partly because Esther works from 8 to 5 and I drive her down – when she learns to drive the jeep she can drive herself – and partly because there is so much to be done. Interruptions are constant. I never yet have been able to do any of my own writing during the day.
The paper and ink has arrived and I plan to do something about it right away.
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Poetic justice: George Freitag, whose 341 page $2.75 novel full of simple sentences (The Lost Land, Coward-McCann) evoked half a page of favorable comment in the New York Herald-Tribune Book Section (February 16) has been asked to teach a class in Creative Writing – by the high school which once expelled him! (Another of his minor masterpieces will appear in the 24th Scarlet Cockerel, now being set.)
by Rowena Autry Moitoret
When I am introduced, I…
My accent’s very wrong; so is
My conversation’s dreadful, for
Teacups always elude me, for
And when I walk across a room
Oh, would that Fate would give to me
The casual grace, the dignity,
The silent pride, the majesty
Of my white Persian Cat.
On Monday, February 10, 1947, at his home in Brooklyn, New York, Benjamin Franklin Moss died of a cerebral hemorrhage. He would have been 64 years old on June 8th.
This news will come as a shock to amateur journalists for Mr. Moss had not been ill. Only last summer he and his wife, Grace, held open house at their summer home on Long Island at Long Beach for NAPA members who stayed over following the Newark convention; and in the fall repeated this for the United.
Mr. Moss entered amateur journalism in 1900 and both Charlie Heins and Louis Wills are reminiscent of the good times always to be had at the Moss home in Brooklyn during the days when B. F. was active. Hospitality was the keynote of his association with us all through his career. But he published The Brooklyn Amateur and Zenith and was an active member in the Brooklyn Amateur Press Club. In 1943 he returned to activity and joined The Fossils. He was instrumental in reviving the United and propped up the United Alumni with the aid of Charley Heins.
Last year, in an effort to stimulate improved writing on the part of our younger members, he donated the B. Franklin Moss medal for the best fiction by a “teen-ager.” The award will be carried on in his memory by his family, according to his wishes.
He was senior member of the firm of Henry Moss & Co., makers of metal specialties and marking devices. He was buried from Temple Beth Elohim in Brooklyn, on February 13th, with one of the most beautiful ceremonies for such occasions it has ever been my experience to attend.
His place in our ranks is not going to be filled for Moss’s specialty was widespread friendship and generous hospitality.
– Edna Hyde McDonald
Along The Home Front
Bill Groveman, working for Montgomery Ward, has sold a story of his own to Dartmouth College magazine. Hazel Segal has forsaken an amateur typesetting career on Campane to slave as a paid Sears Roebuck record clerk.
Vondy claims the fifth Wag is even better than the latest, number six. But we mere readers will have to wait till printer Spink gets around to printing No. 5.
After buying out a furniture store and making 35 pair of curtains, Vic and Ro Moitoret are happily installed in the old Oakland Moitoret ancestral mansion – all except the press (broken by movers in its navy-financed cross-country trip, but now repaired) which waits in the garage. Vic gets home only weekends – much better than the 18 months in China waters he expected. They have purchased a lot inside Yosemite National Park as site for a vacation cabin.
Printed for lack of anything more exciting to do over the cold snowy weekend of Feb. 22-23, 1947, by Ralph Babcock, No. 16