Waiting for Wolcott!

If your friendly bartender reads one more word about James Wolcott’s memoir, one more “rave” review about his recently released “Lucking Out: my life getting down and semi-dirty in seventies new york”, he swears he’s going to go and do something drastic. Like, like, well.. like get himself to a bookstore and buy the damn book! And why would that be drastic, I hear you asking? Because the great man himself on a recent visit to the bar where I ply my trade, promised to drop off a copy when he got the chance. Which he hasn’t yet done. And I feel like I’m hogtied. For it’s not that I mind forking over the cash (I’d gladly plop down a C-Note), it’s just that there’s something truly special about getting an autographed gift from the author himself.

And so I wait. And I wait. Til he finishes all of these frivolous things like book signings, public readings in book stores, (this podcast), and God knows what other venues to occupy his time.

Okay, that’s enough! Of course I’m having some fun, Lord Jim, so please take your good old time as the wait will be worth it.

In praise of Wolcott…

Since I haven’t yet read the book itself (a point I’ve made groaningly clear) except for the excerpt in Vanity Fair called “Norman Mailer Sent Me”, I have to share a feeling I had upon reading it. The part about how James Wolcott met Norman Mailer. See when James was a student at Frostburg State he sent off a letter to his favorite author with a copy of an article he had published in the school newspaper. The topic was the Gore Vidal / Mailer duel on the Cavett Show. And with little hope of his letter and article making their way to their target, or as Wolcott put it so perfectly in his book, “How I got to Mailer was the equivalent of firing a paper airplane out the window and having it land at JFK,” they not only made it to Mailer’s desk with a perfect three point landing, it prompted a return letter from The Man in which he offered these words of encouragement, “I think you have a career.” Then he set up an interview with Dan Wolf, editor of the Village Voice, and the rest is history. Jim immediately quit Frostburg State and followed his dream. And when I read that, that amazing coming together of idol and fan, I thought to myself, Damn, what must that be like? To get a letter of praise like that from someone you happen to hold in such high esteem? Then it hit me, I know exactly how it feels because it happened to me. Here’s how…

See I and my humble blog over here owe a huge debt of gratitude to Mr. Wolcott (a colossal debt he would wave away as being nothing ’cause that’s who he is), for plucking me out of relative obscurity and linking me onto the map of his celebrated web site. And I remember the day he did that just like it was yesterday. And looking back at that heady day as I read that Vanity Fair excerpt, I felt like I was him with a letter from Mailer. That’s how big a deal it was. And remains so. And I bring this up (believe me, dear reader!) not to toot my horn, or to place myself (good grief!) in that celebrated company, but to simply say I know what that feeling is like. To be a fan of someone for over twenty years, to not know that person from Adam, and suddenly get a word of praise from that person. So yeah I know how Jim must’ve felt when he got that letter from Mailer, but when I recently shared that sentiment with him in an e-mail I sent his way, he promptly dismissed the notion by stating, “Believe me I am no Norman Mailer.” Well no, maybe not, Sir, and clearly I’m no “you”, but the parallel still exists from my humble perspective.

And now here’s the real point of this post…

If you want a great read where you’re sure to grin at least two or three times per paragraph, as you constantly come across THE word or THE phrase which are Wolcott’s stock in trade, and you want an insider’s look at seventies New York, warts and all, I highly recommend you buy “Lucking Out”. In fact that’s an order!

See you next week-end, dear reader, and please let me know how you like the book as I wait… and I wait… šŸ™‚

25 Responses to “Waiting for Wolcott!”


  1. 1 Matt Medved (@MrMedved) October 29, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    Its a great book, even if, like me, you have to buy it. However (there’s always a however) none of the glowing reviews seem to mention that there are no pictures in this book. Its got porn right in the title and yet no pictures.

    As there are no pictures, its probably best to get it on the Kindle. It comes with a dictionary, and guys like me need one. I know what Dionysian means, but what is this dangler of which he writes?

  2. 2 WMAssChris October 29, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    I’m on it. Love his writing ā€“ and yours!

    Wish I had the book right now. It’s snowing like mad here. I thought about driving through it to my local establishment for a pint and a burger, but it’s too early in the season to have my car end up on the DL.

  3. 3 scribbler50 October 29, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    Matt: Two things… first off (and I say this respectfully), if you’re hoping for pictures of porn in this book the brilliance of what Wolcott does may not be for you. And second, I’m happy to buy the book I’d just rather wait. That’s all. Which totally rules out Kindle for this man’s money. Dictionary and all.
    Thanks for your comment.

    WMAssChris: Thanks for the compliment, and yeah you better think twice about having that pint. Unless you own a dogsled!
    PS: I just went to your web site and caught the short film “on micro-eras and the passing of time” and thought it was bahh-rilliant! And hilarious. And above all poignant. If anyone reading this is interested, go to his site and click on the section called “blogs”. You’ll love it.

  4. 4 Anonymoustache October 30, 2011 at 8:00 am

    I’ll be sure to check it out, Scrib50. ‘Lucking out’ should be a popular book in these parts if only because people may think it’s about the Colts’ determined march to finish 0-16 and draft Manning’s successor out of Standford..:-)

  5. 5 Jennifer October 30, 2011 at 10:20 am

    It sounds like a great read and has been on my list to get. As I mentioned elsewhere… I’ll never forget reading latest article in VF, many years ago, and seeing for the first time that he had a blog! I could get his writing every day!!!

  6. 6 scribbler50 October 30, 2011 at 11:31 am

    Anonymoustache: You got that right, my friend, Andrew Luck would be the perfect solution.

    Jennifer: Same here, I remember thinking the same thing when I discovered he had a blog. I don’t have to wait a whole month til V.F. hits the stands.
    Thanks, Jennifer.

  7. 7 Chris October 30, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    I have an incredibly long list of books that I at the moment have no time for but hey whats one more, aye? Have a great week bud. And you may not be Mailer or Wolcott but you are pretty darn entertaining in your own way and we all love reading your blog.

  8. 8 WMAssChris October 30, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    Thanks, Scrib! So glad you enjoyed it. It was fun to make.

  9. 9 scribbler50 October 30, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    Chris: Thanks for that, pal, I appreciate it. And you won’t be disappointed with “Lucking Out”.

  10. 10 HyeFye October 31, 2011 at 9:20 am

    Scrib:
    I owe Wolcott a debt as well. ‘Twas that link from his blog that led me to your place. Been a regular at the Stick ever since.

  11. 11 scribbler50 October 31, 2011 at 9:45 am

    HyeFye: Truly kind words which are fully appreciated.
    (You’ve earned yourself a “buy-back”! :))

  12. 12 physiobabe October 31, 2011 at 10:12 am

    He’s always been one of my favorites and I read him religiously in VF. Have ordered the book online, since I’m incapacitated at the moment (no big deal) and am waiting by my mailbox. This is a book I wouldn’t read on Kindle. It has to be held in hand, touched and savored like all delicious things.

    Ciao, Scrib (Yay Steelers!!!!)

  13. 13 scribbler50 October 31, 2011 at 10:45 am

    physiobabe: Sorry to hear about your “no big deal” and hope whatever it is heals quickly. I also hope you get the book in time, what better source of chicken soup for the mind?

    And yes, the Steelers looked great!
    Thanks, “Babe”!

  14. 14 Irishirritant November 1, 2011 at 10:04 am

    I can’t remember how I walked into this fine establishment, but I do remember when you where notified James F’en Wolcott gave you a shout.
    Was delightful to see good things happen to good people. The universe is balanced, and somehow less irritating. Including dat Team from up north by Green Bay, en so.
    Tanks

  15. 15 scribbler50 November 1, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    Irish: Thanks for remembering, ’twas a big day indeed.

    (And yes, even though I’m a Steeler fan your Packers look unbeatable.)

  16. 16 brenda cullerton November 2, 2011 at 8:51 am

    As charming and masterful as ever, Scrib. Just like the man, Wolcott, himself.

  17. 17 scribbler50 November 2, 2011 at 11:15 am

    Brenda: Thank you so very much. Meanwhile, you being a close friend of Jim’s you know more than anyone about his generosity and how he’s helped so many new bloggers. Which, besides the obvious fact of what a great writer he is, is the point I tried to make here.
    Cheers, pal o’ mine!

  18. 18 JSaw November 3, 2011 at 9:14 am

    Done and done… been wanting to buy a new book lately anyway. Though I may take a clue from @MattMedved’s suggestion and buy it on my iPad.

    And, I count myself lucky that I stumbled onto your blog … (though not through Wolcott I don’t think).

  19. 19 scribbler50 November 3, 2011 at 9:22 am

    JSaw: Thanks for the kind word, and I think you “stumbled” into this bar via our mutual friend, the wonderful Siobhan. Am I right? At any rate, glad you did and I’m sure you’ll love “Lucking Out”.
    All the best!

  20. 20 chris November 3, 2011 at 11:20 am

    i’ll pick up that book this week…
    and i too remember when he first posted you…very exciting time…
    and i’m sure getting that book from him will be worth the wait…
    d-a-p

  21. 21 scribbler50 November 4, 2011 at 8:59 am

    chris (d-a-p): It was an exciting time and remains so, as we’ve since become friends. And as far as you enjoying this book goes (since you were living in L.A. in the seventies), here’s the east coast version which by comparison will make you feel like you’re in a foreign country. You’ll love it!
    Thanks, Bud.

  22. 22 siobhan November 12, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    Scrib, I’m hoping you’ve since gotten your hands on a copy! It’s pretty amazing, and is inspiring me to actually write a post for my own damn blog, which, as you know, has been severely neglected this year. (And PS: Thanks for the nice compliment above, in your response to JSaw.)

  23. 23 scribbler50 November 12, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    Siobhan: I have gotten my hands on a copy and it’s MORE than amazing! As I’ve said so often in the past, no one puts words together like Wolcott. He’s a magician. You smile almost every paragraph in appreciation.

    Speaking of which, I miss appreciating your words, my friend, so I do hope you get back to blogging.

    And “compliment” deserved!

  24. 24 shadowzephyr1 February 28, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    I absolutely love your blog.
    Thanks for the wit and the experience you bring to your writing.
    Diana
    Alpharetta

  25. 25 scribbler50 February 28, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    Shadowzephyr1: Thank you, Diana, I appreciate the kind words and your coming on board. You’ve got a seat at the bar!


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