Tim Gautreaux was born and raised in Louisiana and until his recent retirement taught writing at Southeast Louisiana University for thirty years. He has published two story collections, Same Place, Same Things and Welding with Children, as well as
two novels, The Next Step in the Dance and recently The
Clearing. His stories have appeared in Harper's, The
Atlantic, and Zoetrope as well as a number of anthologies.
Tim Gautreaux lives outside of Hammond, Louisiana with his family
and, given his Catholicism, is assuredly at work on something.
The Clearing takes place in post-Great-War backwater Louisiana
with two brothers from Pittsburgh attempting to run their timber
mill business against the background of various adversities, including
the Sicilians whose business interests— a saloon and whore
house—they threaten. Mississippi's Larry Brown sums it up
well, “This novel soars in its evocation of a land and people
lost to the mists of times. It's a story of men and women bound
to a great forest by their destruction of it, and the ties of family
and blood and evil and greed and good and human tragedy and human
Robert Birnbaum: Is The Clearing the
best thing you have ever written?
Tim Gautreaux: Probably so. I would say so.
RB: If it were possible to quantify that, by how
much of a margin?
TG: It's a step up in project size from short-story
writing, which is what I am known for. The short story, of course,
is a wonderful form that I love dearly. It is a manageable form.
You are in and out in six or seven thousand words. The novel, of
course, has to keep going beyond that to one hundred and thirty,
one hundred and fifty thousand words, and it's very easy to lose
your way. It's a quantum leap from story writing. So it pleased
me that I seem to have come out of the woods with this particular
one. At least, according to the reviewers, if the reviewers are
to be believed.
RB: You said a few things there that caught my
attention. Starting with "if the reviewers are to be believed."
Isn't it the case that when you put the pen down or hit 'save' for
the last time on the computer, you say something like, "I've
TG: No. I don't think so.
RB: [Both laugh]
TG: Not at all. When you finish that first draft
you know that you are at the beginning of a long, dark, smoky tunnel.
And then, of course, there is second draft. And then you show it
to your wife and then you have a third draft resulting from that.
And then you send it off to your agent and there's a fourth draft
resulting from that. And then he sells it. And then there are fifth,
sixth and seventh drafts that come from that and a couple of final
polishes. And even after you cut it loose and you get back the first
hard-back copy you are reading somewhere on page six and you say,
"Oh I can't believe that I put those two words that close together,
etc." So it's never finished. And you never get the feeling
like, "This is a grand masterpiece." If it is, you certainly
don't know it. At least in my way of thinking. Somebody will tell
you if it's great.
RB: Well, is it at least a relief to finish?
TG: I think so. It goes along with automatic
writing. The notion behind automatic writing is that things are
a little bit out of your control. The language you put on the page
is a gift and it comes from somewhere and you are not quite sure
where. Very often it is from experience—which means writing
a lot over many years and also your own worldly experience that
you transmogrify into art. But still you sometimes write a sentence
and you ask yourself, "Where did that come from? How did that
come out of me?" And that's a wonderful thing about writing
or any creative genre—the surprise that you bring upon yourself
while you are composing.
RB: You also said that you were pleased to have
written this novel, but you have published another novel. Are there
other unpublished novels?
TG: There are two or three novels that I have
written that are sealed in Tupperware in the attic.
RB: [laughs] That indicates that you are interested
in preserving them.
TG: Only from the roaches. I am not sure they
will ever see the light of day. Several people I know who are famous
writers have two or three rookie novels that wound up in the fireplace
because they didn't want anyone finding them. That might be wise.
RB: At this point the publishing industry buzz,
for what it's worth, is "breakout novel." You've been
at this for quite a while now, haven't you?
TG: I taught creative writing for thirty-one years
or better. I'm fifty-five now and I retired in December. And I have
always had to write a lot to justify my existence as a creative
writing teacher. I started out as a poet and then began to work
in the short fiction form in the late '70s at the urging of Walker
Percy. It just takes a long time to hit your stride as a writer
and teacher. One robs time from the other. But it takes a long time
to develop as a writer even if all you do is write. One of the last
things I got in the mail before I retired was an anthology of American
Literature and the last section of the anthology was New American
Writers, and I checked the bios on each writer, and the youngest
one was born in 1949. Which says something about how long it takes
to hit your stride as a writer.
RB: What do you make of the twenty-year-olds that
are being published?
TG: They tend to be the exception rather than
the rule. These are people with a blinding amount of talent. After
all writing a novel is not rocket science, and if you are genius
you can do it —but there are damn few of those around.
RB: I've talked to quite a few young writers recently.
I wonder where they go from here.
TG: I would rather peak late than early.
RB: Let's talk about the subject at hand, The
Clearing. Is it a Southern novel or a Louisiana novel or a
bayou novel? Or none of the above.
TG: I hope none of the above. Because of I am
very wary of the label "Southern writer." Of course, I
live in Louisiana and I was raised in south central Louisiana, born
and raised there. I was raised in every cliché known to man
about the Deep South. Once you allow yourself to be labeled, you
begin to believe the label and then when you compose you feel duty
bound to include as many of the usual cliches as you possibly can
about your region. That's a terrible thing to happen to a writer,
and I hope that it doesn't happen to me too much. When people interview
me they ask if I consider myself a Southern writer. This seems like
an honest question. Well, it is an honest question. But it's a hard
one to answer. I prefer to put a little different spin on it—
I consider myself a writer first who happens to live in the South.
If I had been born in North Dakota I would still be a writer. I
would probably have had a similar life. But my people and my settings,
my moods, my skies, my waterways would be from North Dakota or South
Canada. I would still be writing something.
RB: If you were currently living in Seattle would
you be writing about the bay and the ocean, the mountains or about
mangrove swamps and alligators and Cajun fisherman?
TG: You'll notice that when I gave the little
North Dakota spiel I said, "If I had been born and raised in
North Dakota..." Wherever you are born and raised tends to
have profound effect on your fictional world. I don't know why.
Ernest Gaines left Louisiana when he was sixteen. And the only fiction
he writes that seems to be really powerful and effective and moving
is fiction that is set in Louisiana. And he knows this and he has
tried to write about California and San Francisco, where he has
lived, by this time probably as much or more than he has lived in
Louisiana. And it just doesn't seem to work for him. He has said
this himself. One reason he has come back to Louisiana in his later
years and is living there at least half the time is so that he can
write and get in touch with what matters to him— the rhythms
of speech. The music of the language around him and the feel of
the weather. It's in his bones. We are talking about a man who really
didn't write at all before he left here. He never thought he would
be a writer. But everything that has magic to it in Ernest Gaines
writing stems from a period before he was sixteen years old. I think
that is the same with me. You really learned every thing you need
to know about human nature directly or indirectly by the time you
are fifteen or sixteen. You know what your family history is, what
your structures are, whether you are paying attention to it or not,
what their values are. And, of course the language of your region
and all that is in your literary bones, so to speak. You know the
cadences of the relatives' parlance and you can go somewhere and
you can live a long time, and it just doesn't ring true. I used
to spend summers with my sister out in California. In my first novel,
The Next Step in the Dance, which did really well, I had
a long section in Los Angeles, and my editor, who was originally
from Los Angeles, said she found it unconvincing, "No, the
Louisiana stuff is fine and has heart, but this LA stuff is kind
of one dimensional. Let's trim it back." And trim it back.
And trim it back. And finally the novel, which was maybe thirty
per cent in California, was maybe seven percent.
RB: A while back I spoke with Mark Winegardner, and he pointed out that southern readers
are extremely loyal to their own. And also that some writers were
trying to pass themselves off as Southern. In the past was being
called a Southern writer a slur?
TG: I don't think so, but it can be limiting.
It's not a big problem. From a marketing point of view, sometimes
people see "great southern novel” on the cover of a book,
and if you are a Minnesota native you say, "I don't want to
read about those nasty people, those sweaty folk down there.”
So there might be a little market resistance to that. Then conversely,
people seek out Southern fiction. People in England are fascinated
with it. I have lots of sales from my books in California. For some
reason the West Coast is interested in the Deep South and in Southern
Literature, particularly Louisiana. I don't think it's that big
of a problem —but I have forgotten the original question.
RB: Me too. When I was thinking about your book
it occurred to me that I loved John Biquenet's Oyster.
Is he a Cajun? His is a French name.
TG: Parisian French. His family came over in the
1740's. My family are relative newcomers. We came over in 1785.
RB: And I liked John Dufrense's books and James Lee Burke's Dave Robicheaux series.
Something about that swamp setting is compelling.
TG: All of us are Catholic. I don't know if that
has anything to do with it.
RB: That had not occurred to me. It seems so languidly
chaotic. I was talking to Arthur Kempton, who has written a book
on Black American pop music, and he said he had briefly listened
to reggae music but that he was drawn to New Orleans music and he
called it American reggae. Though I am certain that it is different
from the rest of the state, New Orleans seems to have something
special about it.
New Orleans has a wonderful music scene that starts up around ten
o clock and goes and goes and goes. Any big city has this, I imagine,
but there'll be thirty or forty bands playing in town on any given
night— in small clubs and big clubs and crazy clubs. My favorite
is Rock n Bowl, which is an upstairs twelve-lane bowling
alley from the 1940's. They changed the locker area into a dance
floor and have music nightly—rhythm and blues and Cajun music
and Zydeco —just about any kind you want. It is a bizarre
gumbo of cultures as you say. The whole place is dedicated to the
Blessed Virgin and they have St. Joseph altars there during that
time of year for Catholic ceremonies and a big bar serving hard
liquor and any kind of beer you want, while all this is going on.
It's a wonderful, wonderful place. And you can bowl and dance on
the lanes if you want. It typifies New Orleans. It's such a mixture
of white music, Afro American music, Cajun music, and French black
Louisiana music. Which is really strange. People still can't get
over seeing African Americans playing an accordion and wearing cowboy
hats and speaking French. But that's what we have especially in
southwest Louisiana. The results of a chemistry even people that
live in New Orleans don't understand. And they don't want to understand
it, because if you understand something, it loses its magic.
RB: That sounds Catholic.
TG: You're right. Exactly. Three persons in one
God. You can't understand it. Well, that's fine. And it's kind of
a template for how we live, how New Orleanians live. We don't know
why it works but it sure is fun and weird.
RB: Is there a city/country split?
TG: Definitely. Louisiana is three states. Forty
percent of it is Cajun country. Although even within that country
there are different categories. There are two types of Arcadian
language spoken down there. Less and less each day. But it is still
spoken in some regions. And then there is New Orleans, which is
separate, unlike the rest of the state. It's more cosmopolitan.
And north of Alexandria and north of Lake Pontchartrain a few miles,
it's the Bible belt. Just like Georgia, Alabama or Mississippi.
RB: The Clearing seems like the kind
of story that has been gestating or percolating, fermenting for
some time. It doesn't strike me as something you just decided to
write after you finished with the last thing you wrote.
TG: That's completely on target. It is a novel
that has been percolating perhaps twenty or twenty five years. And
started with some tales I heard about lawmen in Louisiana in the
1920s and 1930s. A distant relative was a constable at a sawmill
back in the '20s. And my great grandfather was a city marshal in
the little town where I grew up. There were other lawmen that were
in the Gautreaux clan on my mother's side too. They came to bad
ends at the hands of criminals at the turn of the century. You hear—not
stories so much—but mentions at family gatherings, of these
older relatives."You remember Murvie?" "Oh yeah,
he was the one that got shot when…" And that's it. You
would hear one sentence. To a ten year old that's magic. That's
money in the bank. And you'd ask a question, "Well, why did
they shoot him?" "You don't need to know about that."
Which makes it even more fascinating for a young child hearing this.
Most of my family members were …I was the youngest child of
a youngest child. So the family members I grew up with were in their
seventies or eighties. My mother had me when she was forty- one
and she was born in 1907. And she is still alive. She is ninety-six
RB: That bodes well for you.
TG: One hopes.
RB: You're going to have a lot of time to fill
TG: So the novel has coalesced around an enormous
raft of these little one- and two-sentence tidbits that I have absorbed
all my life. Starting from the 1950's going back to the '60s and
'70s and it all just comes together one day, "Well let's see
if can write a novel about this." And you sit down and that
first outline starts to grow like a tomato plant. You start with
one fact and then "I'm going to write about this marshal and
he's in trouble." "Who's going to help him?" “Maybe
he needs a brother?" So you come up with a brother. One thing
generates another until finally you've got a structure you can start
with and kind of outline. The most important decision I made in
The Clearing, and this goes back to your original question
about the Southern writer, is point of view. I decided in the book
early on, even when I was writing the outline to have as the point
of view of some outlanders. Some people who were not from the South.
So I came up with these two brothers from Pittsburgh. They are the
points of view. You see the action of the novel, basically, through
their eyes and their sensibilities. And that makes all the difference
in the world—instead of this being another Southern novel
where the artist has put together a bunch of uneducated deplorable
folks and allowed them to self- destruct for four hundred pages.
TG: You have a different chemistry going there.
You put the non-Southern reader into the novel with this particular
choice that I made. It's seems like a simple choice but it has had
a profound effect on how people take the action that goes on in
the book. It’s not just a bunch of depraved people beating
up on each other. It's some sensitive people, some Yankees, my god,
who are down there.
RB: There are two women who are seem to be unexpectedly
powerful. The younger brother's wife who comes down from Pittsburgh.
She seemed like she would not do well in this hard scrabble place
of a lumber mill in the backwaters of Louisiana. But she thrives.
And the black housekeeper who adds some surprising plot twists.
TG: Men don't exist without women. You can't write
a novel with out having women in it. Let's face it, they are all
over the place and they are in everybody's world. So I had to have
the women in this novel or it would have been artificial. I have
heard feminists complain, with great justification, of how there
some novels particularly western novels, that have no women in them.
It's all men. That's just unrealistic.
RB: You could have gotten away with it. This is
a very remote place deep in the wilds. Like the Alaska Pipeline.
There wouldn't have been any women there.
label, and then when you compose you feel duty bound to include
as many of the usual cliches as you possibly can about your
region. That's a terrible thing to happen to a writer, and
I hope that it doesn't happen to me too much.
TG: I guess so. I thought it would be less realistic.
These are normal men. They have normal desires and loves. They are
going to have their love with them. They can afford to, let's put
it that way. Whereas the lumber company employees that are basically
single men from east Texas who are there because the east Texas
mills have run out of timber. You can expect that work force is
pretty much going to be womanless. Which is part of the problem
with them. The danger with those characters [you mentioned] is I
found them very attractive and interesting and powerful women. The
danger was they were going to take over the narrative. So I had
to watch myself and limit their influence in the novel somewhat
so they didn't take over. The narrative is about the two brothers.
The focus is on them. And really, another novel could have been
written with the women. They were wonderful. Someone who read the
novel thought I gave these women short shrift. If I had developed
plot lines for them that were any more elaborate the novel would
have been something else. It would have gone off on a tangent.
RB: That sounds like a criticism about the book
that you didn't write.
RB: A critic took Tom Franklin [Hell at the Breech] to task because word
'nigger' doesn't appear much in his novel, which is set in Alabama
in the 1890's. The complaint was that this was not real, a false
note. Are you compelled to use vernacular?
TG: If you are going to give an accurate portrayal
of a particular time you have to look at the linguistic patterns
and idioms of the time. And you have to be honest. It's something
a writer thinks about naturally. But I taught Huckleberry Finn enough
times as a college instructor to understand the purposes of the
language in the South, particularly. Some of the positive characters
in the novel or at least one of them does use the dreaded 'n' word.
That's because in 1923 in the Deep South every body used it and
to tell you the truth, a lot of people used in the North. It’s
just realism. The main characters don't use it because they are
from Pittsburgh and they are educated but that's not the real reason
they don't use it. It was considered very impolite and rude.
RB: I understand that some language placed in
a character's mouth may ring false. I don't know how telling it
is if a character doesn't use certain language.
TG: It's kind of a reverse PC. It's kind of skittery.
RB: Was that the only pejorative term for black
TG: There was no lack of them. There were innumerable
hideous terms for Jewish people and Italian people. Even Germans.
So there is no lack of those for that particular time. There would
be a danger of over kill if you just peppered the narrative with
dozens of these things. What would be the point? Unless you were
trying to deal with a one -dimensional racist character that you
were trying to send up. Which I find to be an uninteresting endeavor
for a fiction writer to deal with —a one-dimensional character.
RB: It's the kind of thing that Spike Lee did
in Do the Right Thing and reprised in The 25th Hour,
where there is a montage of races and religions when a narrator
is speaking the most racist, insulting invective. But we digress.
The Clearing seems to end with a number of narrative possibilities.
Why did you end where you ended? Or are you thinking of a sequel?
TG: I had ideas for the novel to go on. I wasn't
quite sure how long I could stretch out the tension. The short story
writer in me wanted to keep things succinct. I can't give away too
much but there is a certain some thing that happens towards the
end of the novel which effectively ends it. I could have not had
that happen and extended the novel even unto other sections. For
example, I was thinking…After the mill was finished cutting
that tract of lumber, the family could have gone on to another tract
somewhere and then the violence could have followed them The particular
Mob members that were after (that sounds terrible) them could have
continued going after them. The novel could have gone in to the
'40s when the baby grows up and asks questions about its origins.
It could have gone through the Second World War and drawn parallels
with the First World War and the Civil War, because they figure
in this novel. It could have gone on and on and on. I was afraid
to lose the focus of the world I had created down there at that
lumber mill site. I was dreading the reviews that would go like
this, "Well, this was a wonderful novel as long as he stayed
in the swamps of Louisiana but the minute he moved back to east
TG: So I just decided to go for 350 pages or however
long the novel is and stop.
RB: Okay, I am still wondering. There is a ripeness
about this novel that suggest other tangents and back-stories. May,
the housekeeper, is a smart cookie, she seems to be a novel unto
herself. Or the one-eyed assassin. Far be it for me to suggest what
you should write but a group of inter-connected stories might be
Believe me I'm thinking about it. As you say, a certain fictional
world has been set down as a foundation and it could be something
to build on. One hopes that if I do that they won't say I am copying
Cormac McCarthy's Border Trilogy with a Swamp Trilogy or something.
Cormac has done a wonderful thing for El Paso with that first novel
and the second kind of built it on that success. It would be nice
if I could do that. I am thinking along those lines.
RB: I don't think people criticized Faulkner for
being stuck in his fictitious county or William Kennedy for the
Albany books. Sometimes a locale or family seems to warrant that
extended attention. I am surprised that more writers don't do that
TG: I agree. You can look at Faulkner and what
he has done, of course, and other writers as the great archetype
for doing that and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. And
some writers have an irrational fear that goes beyond my fear of
being labeled solely as a Southern writer. They really want to show
breadth, show flexibility and write about Canada and South Africa
as well as Vermont, you see. And that's great but it's also great
to create a magical and vivid world which you can stay in or stay
close to…I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. It's
just a different type of writing. Faulkner was a great writer. He
stayed in one spot. Shirley Ann Grau is a great a writer and her
novels, each one is different from the other.
RB: Where do you live?
TG: Hammond, Louisiana, which is about an hour
north of New Orleans. The southeast toe of Louisiana.
RB: When you step off a plane in Boston and you
look around besides all the red brick, is there a palpably different
TG: I was walking around this morning and I thought,
"A hundred and fifty years ago there was a lot of money here."
You walk around in Louisiana and you say, "A hundred and fifty
years ago there were Indians here and trees and no dwellings."
New Orleans is an old city but much of the state is…the population
is half of what New York City is and it's losing people. The feeling
is there was money, there was civilization, there was education,
and there was good fortune here. When you go down to New Orleans,
things are a lot seedier and there is less money and it's just different.
You walk down the streets in the older neighborhoods in New Orleans
you see a lot of front porches. I noticed that you don't see that
up here. That's just dictated by the weather. Up until 1955 you
couldn't stay in a house in Louisiana after three o clock. You had
to go out on the front porch because it was too darn hot in the
house. And there is a different rhythm of life. If you were a field
worker up here, I imagine you could spend the whole day up out in
the field working. You can't do that in Louisiana. You would drop
dead around eleven thirty. So people got up at four and worked until
ten and then knocked off until four and worked until nightfall in
the summer. They would get their ten hours of work in but couldn't
work between eleven and three.
RB: Sugar was the cash crop?
TG: Mainly sugar cane in the southern regions
and there was some cotton. Cotton has always been a poor man's crop.
Without getting into a six-hour lecture, the agricultural entities
up here and in the Midwest were controlled by individuals. In the
South they were controlled by, in the beginning plantation owners
and after slavery the plantation owners and the bankers and the
local storeowner. The whole economy was controlled by that. It has
always been a poor man's economy, the agricultural part of it. That
changed in the '40s and '50s but not until then.
RB: Was Huey Long a symptom or a result of change?
TG: Long was a demagogue who took advantage of
the times. People praise Huey Long in Louisiana for building bridges
and roads but the truth is in the 1930's, all the states were building
bridges and roads. The technology for developing concrete or asphalt
highways and bridges had come to the point where it was time for
the Deep South to be paved. And it was happening all over. Huey
Long didn't do that for Louisiana. It was the same thing that was
happening in Alabama and Arkansas and Georgia.
RB: And Louisiana State University?
TG: It was only by accident. He wanted a big football
team that he could brag about. Like most politicians he cared not
a whit about education.
TG: To return to what may be enveloping you, the
warm fuzzy feeling of having written a well-received book. You are
going to spend some period of time going out and talking about it
and then what?
TG: Life after the book tour? I guess you go home
and start writing another one.
RB: You recently retired. Are you spending more
time on the front porch?
TG: I mentioned before I was Catholic and that
comes with a suitable amount of guilt. I heard the parable of the
talents where terrible things happen to you if you don' t take advantage
of what has been given to you. I have often said this, " If
you are a talented singer or dance you would somehow feel it was
wrong not to sing or dance." I think a literary artist is the
same way. If you decide I have enough money, I have all the fame
I can handle, so let me do something else. You can do that. That's
fine. It would make me feel guilty as if I was not giving what I
should be giving.
RB: And is there a parallel drive to get your
stories down on paper?
TG: You have to use your talent whatever it is.
And that's what you do when you sit down in front of the word processor.
If you didn't you would feel bad. [laughs] Also I can remember when
I was a child and there was this woman in the neighborhood that
had a gorgeous singing voice. She would come over and have coffee
sometimes and she would, if there were enough people around, someone
would say, "Well Georgia why don't you sing us a song?"
and she would stand up and sing something, some old show tune or
whatever. She had a marvelous voice. I thought, "This woman
is not in the entertainment business at all she could just go through
her life and not sing a note except in the bathtub but she chooses
to share her voice with others." I saw that as the right thing
RB: How clear is your sense of what you are going
to do next?
dancer, you would somehow feel it was wrong not to sing or
dance." I think a literary artist is the same way.
TG: I feel really good about whatever it is I
am going to do next. [both laugh] I enjoy writing once I can get
into it. It just that I have so many other interests. It’s
hard for me to get started again sometimes. So I have to rely on
a sense of duty. I am looking forward to my next project. I have
two or three short stories down—I am thinking may be the basis
of another collection. And there is one busted novel that possibly
could be resurrected and rewritten.
RB: You are going to unseal the Tupperware?
TG: [laughs] Those are also sealed in gorilla
glue and way in the corner of the attic. This is a novel set in
Louisiana about the chemical industry. Believe it or not. It's got
some bad things in it. I was reading too much James Lee Burke when
I wrote it so there are some Taiwanese assassins that have to be
removed. But it might be able to be salvaged.
RB: Given your confessed religious predilections,
are you self motivated to publish ever few years?
TG: As soon as I can. I think once I can actually
sit down…my computer committed suicide about six weeks ago.
A totally useless piece of machinery. And I have thrown it way and
I have ordered a new whiz bang computer with all the bells an whistles
and big plasma screen and I expect that to have some effect on me.
I'll feel guilty about not writing with this expensive machine in
RB: This book strikes me as much as any thing
I have read, maybe more so, as the foundation for a terrific movie.
Anything happening on that front? *
TG: I have a film agent, of course sending out
copies of the book. I tend to think in cinematic terms. I like to
craft words so that they have a strong visual effect on the reader.
Not just a glimpse but a glimpse occurring within a larger construct.
Which is one reason why I was afraid of moving the novel past the
main setting of Nimbus, Louisiana, this sawmill town. I spent so
much time placing the reader in this world. One review out in Los
Angeles said, " Finishing the novel was like coming out of
matinee into the sunlight and thinking that world that you had just
emerged into is not the real one but the one in the theater is the
real one." That was a great compliment. But it's something
that I worked very hard to achieve. And I want to continue that
in any next work. When you mention trilogy (I mention trilogy) I
thought it would be nice if somehow I could continue that. I wandered
away from the question…
RB: Whether there is real interest in making The
Clearing a movie?
TG: My stories have been optioned over and over
for various movie projects. None of which, except some excellent
student films, have been made. People do write me for movie rights
every now and then and if you know anything about the Hollywood
crowd, they are always reading fiction and calling up the house
and saying," I really like this as a movie project. Would you
be interested?" I say, "Sure." and then I never hear
from them again. But at least people are thinking about the cinematic
possibilities of even the short stories.
RB: Well, good. Thank you so much.
TG: Thank you.
* I have it on good authority the book lately was optioned by Working Title Films.
© 2003 Robert Birnbaum
Images by Red Diaz/Duende Publishing