A postcard sent to Charles J. Shields from David Markson re: the biography of Kurt Vonnegut that Shields has written.
     On which Markson wrote:     “Dear Charles—                                                                 11/15/07     I’ve a list—everybody’s birthdays—kids, grandchildren, miscl. chums—and at the start of every new yr. I copy them into the new calendar—to remember to send cards, etc. Ergo, when was it?—exactly 4 days ago—what did I see scribbled in at the bottom of 11/11?—“KV B’day.” Meaning, as in recent yrs., I’d have called him in the a.m., just to wish him well. Alas.     (Though 10 days earlier I was still able to phone Knox Burger. You do know the lovely dedication in Monkey House?)     Stay well. My best again—-                                                                                                         Dave M.”
—
     Over this Veterans Day holiday weekend was the late, great Kurt Vonnegut’s bday.
     The above is a postcard that David Markson sent to Vonnegut’s biographer Charles J. Shields a few days after Vonnegut’s birthday in 2007.     That was his first birthday after Vonnegut’s death earlier that year in April.
     If Vonnegut had been alive, Markson’d “have called him in the a.m., just to wish him well.”
     Instead, the classic Marksonian refrain:     “Nobody comes. Nobody calls.”
     “Novelist naturally does receive some few phone calls after all.      All too often in these years with news of someone’s death however.”      - David Markson, The Last Novel, pg. 63.
     Alas.
     One call between Markson and Vonnegut that took place in the 90s was discussed by Markson in his Conjunctions interview:     “It’s funny. When Reader’s Block came out, Kurt Vonnegut called me, two-thirds of the way through, and said, ‘David, what kind of computer did you use to juggle this stuff?’ I told him what I’d done, and he called me when he finished it and said, ‘David, I’m worried about your mental condition.’”
    And other more melancholy calls made my by Markson:     “He explains that his friends die one after the other, and that he calls their telephone numbers to hear their voices on their answering machines one last time, like voices from the great beyond.”     Wrote Françoise Palleau-Papin on pg. 258 of her book on Markson and his writing: This Is Not A Tragedy.
     “A quirky new impulse of Novelist’s, at news of several recent deaths—     Dialing the deceased, in the likelihood that no one would have yet disconnected their answering machines—and contemplating their voices one eerie final time.”     - David Markson, The Last Novel, pg. 139.
     Reading Markson’s postcards.
     Like a voice from the great beyond.
     Contemplating that voice one eerie final time.
—
     This postcard is owned by Charles J. Shields. The above scan is used with his permission. Copyright © Charles J. Shields.

     A postcard sent to Charles J. Shields from David Markson re: the biography of Kurt Vonnegut that Shields has written.

     On which Markson wrote:
     “Dear Charles—                                                                 11/15/07
     I’ve a list—everybody’s birthdays—kids, grandchildren, miscl. chums—and at the start of every new yr. I copy them into the new calendar—to remember to send cards, etc. Ergo, when was it?—exactly 4 days ago—what did I see scribbled in at the bottom of 11/11?—“KV B’day.” Meaning, as in recent yrs., I’d have called him in the a.m., just to wish him well. Alas.
     (Though 10 days earlier I was still able to phone Knox Burger. You do know the lovely dedication in Monkey House?)
     Stay well. My best again—-
                                                                                                         Dave M.”

     Over this Veterans Day holiday weekend was the late, great Kurt Vonnegut’s bday.

     The above is a postcard that David Markson sent to Vonnegut’s biographer Charles J. Shields a few days after Vonnegut’s birthday in 2007.
     That was his first birthday after Vonnegut’s death earlier that year in April.

     If Vonnegut had been alive, Markson’d “have called him in the a.m., just to wish him well.”

     Instead, the classic Marksonian refrain:
     “Nobody comes. Nobody calls.”

     “Novelist naturally does receive some few phone calls after all.
     All too often in these years with news of someone’s death however.”
     - David Markson, The Last Novel, pg. 63.

     Alas.

     One call between Markson and Vonnegut that took place in the 90s was discussed by Markson in his Conjunctions interview:
     “It’s funny. When Reader’s Block came out, Kurt Vonnegut called me, two-thirds of the way through, and said, ‘David, what kind of computer did you use to juggle this stuff?’ I told him what I’d done, and he called me when he finished it and said, ‘David, I’m worried about your mental condition.’”

    And other more melancholy calls made my by Markson:
     “He explains that his friends die one after the other, and that he calls their telephone numbers to hear their voices on their answering machines one last time, like voices from the great beyond.”
     Wrote Françoise Palleau-Papin on pg. 258 of her book on Markson and his writing: This Is Not A Tragedy.

     “A quirky new impulse of Novelist’s, at news of several recent deaths—
     Dialing the deceased, in the likelihood that no one would have yet disconnected their answering machines—and contemplating their voices one eerie final time.”
     - David Markson, The Last Novel, pg. 139.

     Reading Markson’s postcards.

     Like a voice from the great beyond.

     Contemplating that voice one eerie final time.

     This postcard is owned by Charles J. Shields. The above scan is used with his permission. Copyright © Charles J. Shields.

     A postcard sent to Charles J. Shields from David Markson re: the biography of Kurt Vonnegut that Shields has written (And So It Goes…):
     On which Markson wrote:     “Dear Charles—                                                                 10/17/07     Minor item, popped into mind—     I once asked Kurt V. if, when he was teaching, he’d ever had any particularly good writers in his classes.     No hesitation: ‘John Irving.’     I didn’t pursue the conversation any further.     But how could you do your book without this?!                                                                                               My best—                                                                                                         Dave M.”
—
     John Irving said of Vonnegut in this EW interview:     “He was one of the very few and very select father figures in my life.”
     Which sounds like exactly what Markson says of Malcolm Lowry.
     When, in an interview with Joseph Tabbi, Markson spoke about the first letter he sent to Lowry, he explained it in just that sort of way:     “And then finally sent him a letter.  Saying God knows what—be my father, or something as asinine.”
     As Françoise Palleau-Papin writes on pg. xv of the Intro to her book on Markson This Is Not A Tragedy:      “Lowry became the father figure passionately chosen by an eager would-be son.”
     Markson went on in the interview with Tabbi to say:     “Of course something I didn’t know at the time was that Lowry had written the same sort of letter himself, as an even younger man, to Conrad Aiken.”
     Seems common for young writers to search for a writerly father figure.
     Marksons need their Lowrys.      Lowrys need their Aikens.      Irvings need their Vonneguts.     And so on…

     A postcard sent to Charles J. Shields from David Markson re: the biography of Kurt Vonnegut that Shields has written (And So It Goes…):

     On which Markson wrote:
     “Dear Charles—                                                                 10/17/07
     Minor item, popped into mind—
     I once asked Kurt V. if, when he was teaching, he’d ever had any particularly good writers in his classes.
     No hesitation: ‘John Irving.’
     I didn’t pursue the conversation any further.
     But how could you do your book without this?!
                                                                                               My best—
                                                                                                         Dave M.”

     John Irving said of Vonnegut in this EW interview:
     “He was one of the very few and very select father figures in my life.”

     Which sounds like exactly what Markson says of Malcolm Lowry.

     When, in an interview with Joseph Tabbi, Markson spoke about the first letter he sent to Lowry, he explained it in just that sort of way:
     “And then finally sent him a letter.  Saying God knows what—be my father, or something as asinine.”

     As Françoise Palleau-Papin writes on pg. xv of the Intro to her book on Markson This Is Not A Tragedy:
     “Lowry became the father figure passionately chosen by an eager would-be son.”

     Markson went on in the interview with Tabbi to say:
     “Of course something I didn’t know at the time was that Lowry had written the same sort of letter himself, as an even younger man, to Conrad Aiken.”

     Seems common for young writers to search for a writerly father figure.

     Marksons need their Lowrys.
     Lowrys need their Aikens.
     Irvings need their Vonneguts.
     And so on…


     A postcard sent to Charles J. Shields from David Markson re: the biography of Kurt Vonnegut that Shields has written.
     On which Markson wrote:     “Dear Charles—                                                                 Feb 7 ‘08     Sked for pub in mid-2009? Hey, hurry it up! I just turned 80 in December! Will I last?     I jest. Sounds like you’re working 17 hours a day. All profoundest good luck on it. And, I’ll be here!                                                                                               My best—                                                                                                         Dave M.”
—
     Four years ago, in February 2008, Markson sent this notecard to Charles J. Shields re: Shields’ biography of Kurt Vonnegut titled And So It Goes…     Charles J. Shields’ book was finally published late last year.
     I conducted an interview with him re: Vonnegut and the new book last November.     And I also conducted a shorter interview about his relationship with Markson.
     Unfortunately, even though he wrote “I’ll be here,” Markson was sadly no longer with us by the time Shields was able to publish his Vonnegut bio.
     So it goes.
—
     This postcard is owned by Charles J. Shields. The above scan is used with his permission. Copyright © Charles J. Shields.

     A postcard sent to Charles J. Shields from David Markson re: the biography of Kurt Vonnegut that Shields has written.

     On which Markson wrote:
     “Dear Charles—                                                                 Feb 7 ‘08
     Sked for pub in mid-2009? Hey, hurry it up! I just turned 80 in December! Will I last?
     I jest. Sounds like you’re working 17 hours a day. All profoundest good luck on it. And, I’ll be here!
                                                                                               My best—
                                                                                                         Dave M.”

     Four years ago, in February 2008, Markson sent this notecard to Charles J. Shields re: Shields’ biography of Kurt Vonnegut titled And So It Goes…
     Charles J. Shields’ book was finally published late last year.

     I conducted an interview with him re: Vonnegut and the new book last November.
     And I also conducted a shorter interview about his relationship with Markson.

     Unfortunately, even though he wrote “I’ll be here,” Markson was sadly no longer with us by the time Shields was able to publish his Vonnegut bio.

     So it goes.

     This postcard is owned by Charles J. Shields. The above scan is used with his permission. Copyright © Charles J. Shields.

      Pg. 35  of David Markson’s copy of Fates Worse than Death by Kurt Vonnegut:
     On which Markson placed a check next to the rules of Nelson Algren that Vonnegut relays:     “The three rules are, of course: Never eat at a place called Mom’s, never play cards with a man named Doc, and most important, never go to bed with anybody who has more troubles than you do.”
—
     Keep thinking about that last one (the most important one):     “Never go to bed with anybody who has more troubles than you do.”
     I’m reminded of Vonnegut’s wife, Jill Krementz.     Though who really knows who had more troubles, Kurt or Jill?
     Krementz was a photographer who, in 1970, decided to “fill the  author picture vacuum” and began a large collection of author photos.
     She is mentioned, in this capacity, in Markson’s Springer’s Progress:     “Truer gauge of how gemlike’s his flame. Never been asked to pose for Jill Krementz.”     (Pg. 103)
     Though Markson had something more to say of her in private to Vonnegut biographer Charles J. Shields years later…     When I interviewed Shields, he said to me of Markson:     “He told a story about his impressions of Jill Krementz, Kurt’s wife, at Vonnegut’s memorial service. But I’d rather not repeat it.”
     Someone on Amazon wrote about how Jill Krementz comes off in Shields’ Vonnegut biography And So It Goes by saying:     “Jill Krementz, a photographer who comes off in the book as having the charm and graciousness of Lady Macbeth.”     I loved that description so much I had to include it here.
     Shields wrote in the biography of the marital problems of Kurt and Jill that were taking place at the exact same time as Kurt was publishing the book from which the above scan is taken, Fates Worse Than Death:     “To make it clear that Kurt was no longer wanted, Jill changed the locks on their home on East Forty-eighth Street and emptied the rooms and closets of his belongings. According to a statement he later supplied to his attorney, the breathlessness with which she announced to him that she and DuBrul were in love and talking marriage was almost as though Vonnegut were ‘her daddy rather than her husband. She also called several friends to tell them the wonderful news of the divorce and remarriage in prospect.’ All the details came pouring out. Days she had supposedly gone on photo shoots she had been with DuBrul. Nights when she left work in her gallery across the street were excuses for rendezvous.     The whole business struck Vonnegut as ‘lugubrious, ill-natured, low comedy’—except for the maddening inconvenience of being banned from his own home.     In a way, though, Kurt was’t surprised that his ‘unloving wife, wholly without domestic skills,’ who could barely stand to have him ‘touch her Rolodex,’ finally wanted out of the marriage. Not was he all that amazed when she changed the locks on the brownstone he owned so he couldn’t live there. What really took him aback were her final requests of him: make haste in divrcing her, ‘remember her’ in his will, and please leave her a parking space for her Cadillac in a nearby garage.”     (Pgs. 385-386)
     His first wife, Jane, could see Jill’s problems, and oddly forecasted:     Jill Krementz “will find ways to cut you off from your home, your friends, and your own conscience.”     Quoted Charles J. Shields on pg. 292 of And So It Goes.     Strange that Jill would literally end up locking him out of his own home not once, but twice.
     Later, after DuBrul left Jill, she wanted Vonnegut back, and didn’t want the divorce any longer (they hadn’t yet officially divorced).     “He didn’t agree,” wrote Shields on pg. 389 of the biography. “She had mistreated him, ‘the half-dead goose which laid golden eggs for her for so many years,’ and he wanted a divorce on any grounds with as little fanfare as possible.”
     Yet, they never got divorced.      Though Vonnegut filed for a divorce a total of three separate times, they always reconciled—but their relationship was apparently always on the rocks, if Shields’ descriptions are to be believed, and she was very icy towards him, and incredibly cruel at times.
     On pg. 392, Shields writes of Vonnegut explaining to one of his daughters why he was reconciling with Jill:     “To Nanny, he offered the plaintive excuse that Jill was his ‘disease.’”
     Never go to bed with anybody who has more troubles than you do.
     His disease?
     Fates worse than death…
     But hey at least she was beautiful, according to Vonnegut:     “Scientists of the future will want to know if any of the photographs of Jill in this book have been retouched. No. Let them explain, if they can, why it was that the older she was the more beautiful she became.”     - Kurt Vonnegut, Fates Worse Than Death, pg. 90.
     “I never knew a writer’s wife who wasn’t beautiful.     Said Kurt Vonnegut.”     - David Markson, The Last Novel, pg. 101.

     Pg. 35 of David Markson’s copy of Fates Worse than Death by Kurt Vonnegut:

     On which Markson placed a check next to the rules of Nelson Algren that Vonnegut relays:
     “The three rules are, of course: Never eat at a place called Mom’s, never play cards with a man named Doc, and most important, never go to bed with anybody who has more troubles than you do.”

     Keep thinking about that last one (the most important one):
     “Never go to bed with anybody who has more troubles than you do.”

     I’m reminded of Vonnegut’s wife, Jill Krementz.
     Though who really knows who had more troubles, Kurt or Jill?

     Krementz was a photographer who, in 1970, decided to “fill the author picture vacuum” and began a large collection of author photos.

     She is mentioned, in this capacity, in Markson’s Springer’s Progress:
     “Truer gauge of how gemlike’s his flame. Never been asked to pose for Jill Krementz.”
     (Pg. 103)

     Though Markson had something more to say of her in private to Vonnegut biographer Charles J. Shields years later…
     When I interviewed Shields, he said to me of Markson:
     “He told a story about his impressions of Jill Krementz, Kurt’s wife, at Vonnegut’s memorial service. But I’d rather not repeat it.

     Someone on Amazon wrote about how Jill Krementz comes off in Shields’ Vonnegut biography And So It Goes by saying:
     “Jill Krementz, a photographer who comes off in the book as having the charm and graciousness of Lady Macbeth.”
     I loved that description so much I had to include it here.

     Shields wrote in the biography of the marital problems of Kurt and Jill that were taking place at the exact same time as Kurt was publishing the book from which the above scan is taken, Fates Worse Than Death:
     “To make it clear that Kurt was no longer wanted, Jill changed the locks on their home on East Forty-eighth Street and emptied the rooms and closets of his belongings. According to a statement he later supplied to his attorney, the breathlessness with which she announced to him that she and DuBrul were in love and talking marriage was almost as though Vonnegut were ‘her daddy rather than her husband. She also called several friends to tell them the wonderful news of the divorce and remarriage in prospect.’ All the details came pouring out. Days she had supposedly gone on photo shoots she had been with DuBrul. Nights when she left work in her gallery across the street were excuses for rendezvous.
     The whole business struck Vonnegut as ‘lugubrious, ill-natured, low comedy’—except for the maddening inconvenience of being banned from his own home.
     In a way, though, Kurt was’t surprised that his ‘unloving wife, wholly without domestic skills,’ who could barely stand to have him ‘touch her Rolodex,’ finally wanted out of the marriage. Not was he all that amazed when she changed the locks on the brownstone he owned so he couldn’t live there. What really took him aback were her final requests of him: make haste in divrcing her, ‘remember her’ in his will, and please leave her a parking space for her Cadillac in a nearby garage.”
     (Pgs. 385-386)

     His first wife, Jane, could see Jill’s problems, and oddly forecasted:
     Jill Krementz “will find ways to cut you off from your home, your friends, and your own conscience.”
     Quoted Charles J. Shields on pg. 292 of And So It Goes.
     Strange that Jill would literally end up locking him out of his own home not once, but twice.

     Later, after DuBrul left Jill, she wanted Vonnegut back, and didn’t want the divorce any longer (they hadn’t yet officially divorced).
     “He didn’t agree,” wrote Shields on pg. 389 of the biography. “She had mistreated him, ‘the half-dead goose which laid golden eggs for her for so many years,’ and he wanted a divorce on any grounds with as little fanfare as possible.”

     Yet, they never got divorced.
     Though Vonnegut filed for a divorce a total of three separate times, they always reconciled—but their relationship was apparently always on the rocks, if Shields’ descriptions are to be believed, and she was very icy towards him, and incredibly cruel at times.

     On pg. 392, Shields writes of Vonnegut explaining to one of his daughters why he was reconciling with Jill:
     “To Nanny, he offered the plaintive excuse that Jill was his ‘disease.’”

     Never go to bed with anybody who has more troubles than you do.

     His disease?

     Fates worse than death…

     But hey at least she was beautiful, according to Vonnegut:
     “Scientists of the future will want to know if any of the photographs of Jill in this book have been retouched. No. Let them explain, if they can, why it was that the older she was the more beautiful she became.”
     - Kurt Vonnegut, Fates Worse Than Death, pg. 90.

     “I never knew a writer’s wife who wasn’t beautiful.
     Said Kurt Vonnegut.”
     - David Markson, The Last Novel, pg. 101.

     The back side of a postcard sent to Charles J. Shields from David Markson re: the biography of Kurt Vonnegut And So It Goes that Shields wrote and recently published.
—
     It’s Thanksgiving, and one thing I’m particularly thankful for this year is the outpouring of support over the last 13 months or so of Reading Markson Reading.
     Major thanks to all my readers. It’s nice to have other people with whom I can read Markson reading.
     Also, various people who knew Markson have sent me kind notes of appreciation for what I am doing. And I thank them for those.
     And other literary-types whom I won’t name drop have dropped a line to say they like what I’m doing here. Much thanks as well.
     It’s a lot of work to post a scan every day and comment on it, but it’s also very interesting and rewarding work.
     One of the rewards that I am truly thankful for is having been able to start an acquaintanceship with biographer Charles J. Shields. He was kind enough to e-mail me and offer up scans of his correspondence with Markson. He had been in contact with Markson in regards to the biography of Kurt Vonnegut that he had been writing.
     Unfortunately, just as Vonnegut died before Shields’ book was published, so too did Markson. But it is finally published—this month in fact!—so pick it up at your local book store: And So It Goes.
     I spoke with Shields about his Vonnegut biography in an article for PMc Magazine, but I also asked him some additional bonus questions about Markson which did not appear in that Vonnegut-based interview, but which i will include here:
     Q: How did you first get in contact with Markson?
     A: I read an interview with him in which he mentioned Kurt. Vonnegut, and Kurt’s first editor, Knox Burger, knew David well. I called him and arranged to come by his apartment.
     Q: Did you ever meet him face-to-face or just correspond via his infamous plain white index cards?
     A: David and I had a lovely talk in his apartment in Greenwich Village. It was small, neat, and lined with bookshelves. He worked at a little secretary desk in one corner near a window overlooking the street. Rather monkish.     He was eager for companionship and followed me to the door, continuing to tell stories and ask questions. Now and then, he called or wrote. I tried to take him to lunch several times, but after he was diagnosed with a serious illness, he seemed to lose all heart.
     Q: What was your sense of Markson the man and Markson the artist?
     A: So many men of that generation are different from the current generation. Markson was typical: very masculine, unabashed in his desire for women, a member of the secret fraternity of male dogs. His books express his angst; but outwardly, he was a good buddy.
     Q: Do you have any funny story about Markson? Or interesting anecdote?
     A: He told a story about his impressions of Jill Krementz, Kurt’s wife, at Vonnegut’s memorial service. But I’d rather not repeat it.
     Q: How would you describe Markson’s and Vonnegut’s relationship?
     A: Markson thought Kurt was kind and he recounted episodes when Vonnegut inquired about his work or offered help. David also admired Kurt’s popularlity. He would have like to be as recognized.
     Q: How do you think the two writers were similar or different?
     A: Both men were philosophers, thinkers. They wanted to create novels out of ideas, not plot or characters. That’s a courageous thing to do, artistically. Markson hoped to be appreciated for his risk-taking; Kurt managed to find the golden mean.
     Q: What was Markson’s contribution to your new Vonnegut biography And So It Goes?
     A: By and large, David corroborated other things people had said. The post-war publishing community was small, and Markson belonged to the same in-crowd as Vonnegut.      Where David was particularly helpful was in explaining more about the falling out between Knox Burger and Kurt, which Knox preferred not to explain. That was a turning point in Kurt’s career, and some would argue, not for the better.
—
     This postcard is owned by Charles J. Shields. The above scan is used with his permission. Copyright © Charles J. Shields.

     The back side of a postcard sent to Charles J. Shields from David Markson re: the biography of Kurt Vonnegut And So It Goes that Shields wrote and recently published.

     It’s Thanksgiving, and one thing I’m particularly thankful for this year is the outpouring of support over the last 13 months or so of Reading Markson Reading.

     Major thanks to all my readers. It’s nice to have other people with whom I can read Markson reading.

     Also, various people who knew Markson have sent me kind notes of appreciation for what I am doing. And I thank them for those.

     And other literary-types whom I won’t name drop have dropped a line to say they like what I’m doing here. Much thanks as well.

     It’s a lot of work to post a scan every day and comment on it, but it’s also very interesting and rewarding work.

     One of the rewards that I am truly thankful for is having been able to start an acquaintanceship with biographer Charles J. Shields. He was kind enough to e-mail me and offer up scans of his correspondence with Markson. He had been in contact with Markson in regards to the biography of Kurt Vonnegut that he had been writing.

     Unfortunately, just as Vonnegut died before Shields’ book was published, so too did Markson. But it is finally published—this month in fact!—so pick it up at your local book store: And So It Goes.

     I spoke with Shields about his Vonnegut biography in an article for PMc Magazine, but I also asked him some additional bonus questions about Markson which did not appear in that Vonnegut-based interview, but which i will include here:

     Q: How did you first get in contact with Markson?

     A: I read an interview with him in which he mentioned Kurt. Vonnegut, and Kurt’s first editor, Knox Burger, knew David well. I called him and arranged to come by his apartment.

     Q: Did you ever meet him face-to-face or just correspond via his infamous plain white index cards?

     A: David and I had a lovely talk in his apartment in Greenwich Village. It was small, neat, and lined with bookshelves. He worked at a little secretary desk in one corner near a window overlooking the street. Rather monkish.
     He was eager for companionship and followed me to the door, continuing to tell stories and ask questions. Now and then, he called or wrote. I tried to take him to lunch several times, but after he was diagnosed with a serious illness, he seemed to lose all heart.

     Q: What was your sense of Markson the man and Markson the artist?

     A: So many men of that generation are different from the current generation. Markson was typical: very masculine, unabashed in his desire for women, a member of the secret fraternity of male dogs. His books express his angst; but outwardly, he was a good buddy.

     Q: Do you have any funny story about Markson? Or interesting anecdote?

     A: He told a story about his impressions of Jill Krementz, Kurt’s wife, at Vonnegut’s memorial service. But I’d rather not repeat it.

     Q: How would you describe Markson’s and Vonnegut’s relationship?

     A: Markson thought Kurt was kind and he recounted episodes when Vonnegut inquired about his work or offered help. David also admired Kurt’s popularlity. He would have like to be as recognized.

     Q: How do you think the two writers were similar or different?

     A: Both men were philosophers, thinkers. They wanted to create novels out of ideas, not plot or characters. That’s a courageous thing to do, artistically. Markson hoped to be appreciated for his risk-taking; Kurt managed to find the golden mean.

     Q: What was Markson’s contribution to your new Vonnegut biography And So It Goes?

     A: By and large, David corroborated other things people had said. The post-war publishing community was small, and Markson belonged to the same in-crowd as Vonnegut.
     Where David was particularly helpful was in explaining more about the falling out between Knox Burger and Kurt, which Knox preferred not to explain. That was a turning point in Kurt’s career, and some would argue, not for the better.

     This postcard is owned by Charles J. Shields. The above scan is used with his permission. Copyright © Charles J. Shields.

     A postcard sent to Charles J. Shields from David Markson re: the biography of Kurt Vonnegut that Shields has written (which will be published next month).
     On which Markson wrote:     “Dear Charles—                                                                 Dec 30 ‘08     Glad yr. work is going well. Damn, but I wish mine were. Feeling worse than rotten here, for months—cancelled one lunch or another with old pals, even a dinner on my birthday (81st!) with my kids and grandchildren. Though of course it will be nice to see you, whenever—assuming I can find the strength to answer the phone. Stay young!                                                                           Meantime, my best—                                                                                                         Dave”
—
     “Old age is not for sissies.     Said Bette Davis.”     Wrote David Markson.     In his last novel The Last Novel.     On page 178.
     Stay young!
—
     This postcard is owned by Charles J. Shields. The above scan is used with his permission. Copyright © Charles J. Shields.

     A postcard sent to Charles J. Shields from David Markson re: the biography of Kurt Vonnegut that Shields has written (which will be published next month).

     On which Markson wrote:
     “Dear Charles—                                                                 Dec 30 ‘08
     Glad yr. work is going well. Damn, but I wish mine were. Feeling worse than rotten here, for months—cancelled one lunch or another with old pals, even a dinner on my birthday (81st!) with my kids and grandchildren. Though of course it will be nice to see you, whenever—assuming I can find the strength to answer the phone. Stay young!
                                                                           Meantime, my best—
                                                                                                         Dave”

     “Old age is not for sissies.
     Said Bette Davis.”
     Wrote David Markson.
     In his last novel The Last Novel.
     On page 178.

     Stay young!

     This postcard is owned by Charles J. Shields. The above scan is used with his permission. Copyright © Charles J. Shields.

     A postcard sent to Charles J. Shields from David Markson re: the biography of Kurt Vonnegut that Shields has written (which will be published later this year).
     On which Markson wrote:     “Dear Charles—                                                            3/29/09     Just a few words to express regrets, again, that I couldn’t make myself available while you were here. Damn, and just a day later a gorgeous young female friend called to see if she might stop by on the weekend, and I had to tell her please, no, likewise. (Trust me, that one hurt more than putting off Charles Shields—since I mean truly gorgeous!) Hey, but let’s hope next time.                                                                                          Best—Dave M.
—-
     This is my second posting of a notecard sent to Shields by Markson.
     A slight break from marginalia.
     But no break from interesting Markson posts.
     This is my personal favorite of the notecards Shields sent over to me from Markson because you really get a sense of the hilarious old letch that he was—and didn’t really deny being—with all the talk of his “gorgeous young female friend.”
     And why deny being?     “Again, what but liking women the ineludible essence here, there a known remedy?”      From pg. 6 of Springer’s Progress.
     Lucien Springer, the protagonist of said novel, who seems to closely resemble the writer.
     “Stylistic and erotic playfulness bring the reader closer to a highly colorful character, who sounds very close in spirit to the writer in his younger years, even though Markson avoids the topic of his biography in his interviews about the novel.”     Explained Françoise Palleau-Papin on pg. 131 of her study This Is Not A Tragedy.
     “You’re an inveterate horny old man.”     Jessica Cornford calls Springer on pg. 48 of that book.
     “I am that.”     He responds.
—-
     This postcard is owned by Charles J. Shields. The above scan is used with his permission. Copyright © Charles J. Shields.

     A postcard sent to Charles J. Shields from David Markson re: the biography of Kurt Vonnegut that Shields has written (which will be published later this year).

     On which Markson wrote:
     “Dear Charles—                                                            3/29/09
     Just a few words to express regrets, again, that I couldn’t make myself available while you were here. Damn, and just a day later a gorgeous young female friend called to see if she might stop by on the weekend, and I had to tell her please, no, likewise. (Trust me, that one hurt more than putting off Charles Shields—since I mean truly gorgeous!) Hey, but let’s hope next time.
                                                                                          Best—Dave M.

—-

     This is my second posting of a notecard sent to Shields by Markson.

     A slight break from marginalia.

     But no break from interesting Markson posts.

     This is my personal favorite of the notecards Shields sent over to me from Markson because you really get a sense of the hilarious old letch that he was—and didn’t really deny being—with all the talk of his “gorgeous young female friend.”

     And why deny being?
     “Again, what but liking women the ineludible essence here, there a known remedy?”
     From pg. 6 of Springer’s Progress.

     Lucien Springer, the protagonist of said novel, who seems to closely resemble the writer.

     “Stylistic and erotic playfulness bring the reader closer to a highly colorful character, who sounds very close in spirit to the writer in his younger years, even though Markson avoids the topic of his biography in his interviews about the novel.”
     Explained Françoise Palleau-Papin on pg. 131 of her study This Is Not A Tragedy.

     “You’re an inveterate horny old man.”
     Jessica Cornford calls Springer on pg. 48 of that book.

     “I am that.”
     He responds.

—-

     This postcard is owned by Charles J. Shields. The above scan is used with his permission. Copyright © Charles J. Shields.

     A postcard sent to Charles J. Shields from David Markson re: the biography of Kurt Vonnegut that Shields has written (which will be published later this year).
     On which Markson wrote:     “Dear Chs.—                                                                 4/11/09     Thank you for the note—and my regrets, again, for not being able to get together. I had to fink out on Ann Beattie too, only a few days later, when she was in town. Next week it will probably be the ghost of Ava Gardner.     Meantime, only a couple of days after that, four bloody hours to drag myself to a fancy oncologist, sit and wait, sit and wait, etc, + then shlepp home—all to be told ‘Go get such + such a test + then come back.’ Damn, I hate being old.     I’m glad you saw Knox, though. I must, must, get over there.                                                                 My best again—Dave.”
—-
     Although the point of my blog is to share Markson marginalia, I was given a special treat by Charles Shields, who scanned and sent me his correspondence with David Markson.     So I couldn’t help myself but do a special post.
     Markson was known for sending these type of plain white notecards to his friends and acquaintances.     I was lucky enough to receive two myself (which I’ve discussed on here at some point but have not yet posted—perhaps I will at some point in the near future).
     Yesterday I explored Markson and old age, so I felt it a propos to post this notecard, which further explores the topic.
     “Damn, I hate being old.”     He wrote to Shields.
     “Age.     Dammit.”     - Vanishing Point, pg. 180.
     A few pages later:     “Age. Age.” (Pg. 186).
     In the introduction to her book on Markson, This Is Not A Tragedy, Francois wrote:     “He also saw a connection between his isolation and his age. He explained that while for years he’d been saying he was getting old, now, he really was.” (Pg. xxvi).
     Old. Tired. Sick. Alone. Broke.
     Damn, I hate being old.
—-
This postcard is owned by Charles J. Shields. The above scan is used with his permission. Copyright © Charles J. Shields.

     A postcard sent to Charles J. Shields from David Markson re: the biography of Kurt Vonnegut that Shields has written (which will be published later this year).

     On which Markson wrote:
     “Dear Chs.—                                                                 4/11/09
     Thank you for the note—and my regrets, again, for not being able to get together. I had to fink out on Ann Beattie too, only a few days later, when she was in town. Next week it will probably be the ghost of Ava Gardner.
     Meantime, only a couple of days after that, four bloody hours to drag myself to a fancy oncologist, sit and wait, sit and wait, etc, + then shlepp home—all to be told ‘Go get such + such a test + then come back.’ Damn, I hate being old.
     I’m glad you saw Knox, though. I must, must, get over there.
                                                                 My best again—Dave.”

—-

     Although the point of my blog is to share Markson marginalia, I was given a special treat by Charles Shields, who scanned and sent me his correspondence with David Markson.
     So I couldn’t help myself but do a special post.

     Markson was known for sending these type of plain white notecards to his friends and acquaintances.
     I was lucky enough to receive two myself (which I’ve discussed on here at some point but have not yet posted—perhaps I will at some point in the near future).

     Yesterday I explored Markson and old age, so I felt it a propos to post this notecard, which further explores the topic.

     “Damn, I hate being old.”
     He wrote to Shields.

     “Age.
     Dammit.”
     - Vanishing Point, pg. 180.

     A few pages later:
     “Age. Age.” (Pg. 186).

     In the introduction to her book on Markson, This Is Not A Tragedy, Francois wrote:
     “He also saw a connection between his isolation and his age. He explained that while for years he’d been saying he was getting old, now, he really was.” (Pg. xxvi).

     Old. Tired. Sick. Alone. Broke.

     Damn, I hate being old.

—-

This postcard is owned by Charles J. Shields. The above scan is used with his permission. Copyright © Charles J. Shields.