I gave a show
years ago, maybe in the mid-70s, at Chaney's little Cobbler
climbing shop in the Springs, and Gill attended, because I showed
my first little black and white Gill film. The event was later called
the Cobbler Massacre. As I delivered my talk, some juvenile
delinquents in the alley in the back got into a fight. Someone in
the store stuck his had out the back door and told them to be quiet.
One of them went home and got a gun. Shots were fired in through the
wood of the back door. The whole crowd of people at the show hit
the floor. I had no idea what was going on and continued to stand
there and talk. Suddenly Gill and his wife ambled past me, on their
way out the front door. He chuckled and said to me, as he walked by,
"I think it's time for us to go." Or something to that effect. The
rest of the evening, police patrolled the area and shined big
spotlights in through the front window as they drove by....
Pat, if you wrote all of your stories in this simple, bare, dashed-off voice with the simple phrasing and word choice and NO affectation, you'd be the best genre writer in the world. This is NOT a knock on your other work, but a celebration of this passage and this passage alone. Make certain to understand this last bit.
I've written quite a lot of things that were little more than
this kind of off-hand, casual memory of events in life. The
whole "Stories of a Young Climber" is this kind of under-worked,
rough vignettes, one after another..., where I don't think much,
and just converse... with the page... kind of... Both my books
Swaramandal and Direct Lines were this sort of "writing." Perrin
was so impressed with Direct Lines he said it was the best thing
he'd read since Patey and Murray. I had no idea it was that good,
having scribbled it in a few hours.... But I think you were
making a compliment, if I understand right... (?), that you
found some little ditty of mine you liked.... for which I
am grateful, coming from such a good writer as you.
The more I hear your last sentence reverberate in my ears the
more I wonder if I do understand what you are saying or if there
is some more subtle message... Maybe I look too deep....