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.

     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 David Markson sent to me.
     On which Markson wrote:     “Tyler, lad—                                                            18 March ‘10     My God, you left out Willie Mays!     Hey, again, thank you for the kind words, the kind offers, etc. Brief as this will be, I do appreciate all of same.     And I guess I do get by without help—even with, would you believe, a busted wrist at the moment! (I do not advise it, at age 82!)     Let me just wish you all the best of luck with your work. And, truly, sincerest thanks again.                                                                                     Yours—Dave M.”
—
     Tonight, in celebration of being back writing Reading Markson Reading again, I decided to share with all my fellow readers (of Markson reading), my most prized Markson possession.     It is not one of my many books once owned by Markson, with or without marginalia.     Not his copy of Don DeLillo’s Mao II with “bullshit” written in Markson’s own handwriting in the margins on seemingly every other page.     Not his copy of James Joyce’s Exiles which, though lacking in marginalia, is still one of my favorites since it is my second favorite author’s personal copy of a book written by my favorite author (even if it is my favorite author’s least interesting work).     Not his copy of Conrad Aiken’s Ushant which has not only Markson’s own signature of ownership in it, but also an inscription from Conrad Aiken to Markson’s wife.     Not his copy of Kurt Vonnegut’s Timequake, nor his copy of Gertrude Stein’s The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, nor his copy of Jorge Luis Borges’ Selected Poems, nor his copy of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Crack-Up, nor his copy of Dante’s Inferno, nor his copy of Homer’s Iliad.     No. My most prized possession is a small little postcard he sent me in response to a letter I sent him.
     I wrote him two letters, actually.     And I received two notecards in response.     Both within just days of my having sent the letters. 
     The above scan is only the second of the two responses.
     One letter I handed to him when he made an appearance at the Strand upon the publication of The Last Novel in 2007. The other I sent just a few months before he died in 2010.     This is the response I got on March 18th, 2010.     He died less than three months later on June 4th, 2010.
     In the letter I sent him that prompted this response, I had created a short Marksonian list of monumental events that took place in New York City.      Less monumental, actually, and more just peculiar.     One such event I included, I remember, was when the Baronness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven punched William Carlos Williams in the face in 1921 for rejecting her advances.     That is what Markson refers to when he says I “left out Willie Mays!”
     I had not included “the catch”—the infamous catch, one of the most memorable defensive plays in all of baseball history, which took place during Game 1 of the 1954 World Series between the New York Giants and the Cleveland Indians at the Polo Grounds in New York City.     A “‘great’ catch” which Markson, in his review of Shay Oag’s book In the Presence of Death, wrote was followed by “back-slapping exultation.”     My God, you left out Willie Mays!
     The rest of the note refers mostly to me offering to help him with anything if he needed it, to which he replied that he does “get by without help.”
     And then there’s the mention of his busted wrist.     Dingus gestured vaguely with a hand that Hoke now saw to be bandaged, or rather it was the wrist.
     He was a sweet man to respond, and sweeter to have done so twice. And I appreciate, and will treasure, the fact that he wished me “the best of luck” with my writing.     I had told him of the novel I’d been working on, but neither of us could know the other writing project that would announce itself to me only a few months later—after having found, stacked in miles and miles of books at the Strand, some of Markson’s own personal library. Neither of us could have known I’d be reading Markson reading, and blogging about it, such a short time after receiving this notecard.     Quite sad.
     When I read the books of his I now own, and read what he wrote in many of their margins, I feel as though he’s reading with me, as though we’re discussing whatever book it is, as though he’s talking to me.     But here, in this postcard, he IS actually talking to me. He’s literally addressing me:     “Tyler, lad—”
     And that makes this my most prized Markson possession.
     (Someday I’ll share the other postcard he sent me a few years earlier—my other most prized Markson possession.)

     A postcard David Markson sent to me.

     On which Markson wrote:
     “Tyler, lad—                                                            18 March ‘10
     My God, you left out Willie Mays!
     Hey, again, thank you for the kind words, the kind offers, etc. Brief as this will be, I do appreciate all of same.
     And I guess I do get by without help—even with, would you believe, a busted wrist at the moment! (I do not advise it, at age 82!)
     Let me just wish you all the best of luck with your work. And, truly, sincerest thanks again.
                                                                                     Yours—Dave M.”

     Tonight, in celebration of being back writing Reading Markson Reading again, I decided to share with all my fellow readers (of Markson reading), my most prized Markson possession.
     It is not one of my many books once owned by Markson, with or without marginalia.
     Not his copy of Don DeLillo’s Mao II with “bullshit” written in Markson’s own handwriting in the margins on seemingly every other page.
     Not his copy of James Joyce’s Exiles which, though lacking in marginalia, is still one of my favorites since it is my second favorite author’s personal copy of a book written by my favorite author (even if it is my favorite author’s least interesting work).
     Not his copy of Conrad Aiken’s Ushant which has not only Markson’s own signature of ownership in it, but also an inscription from Conrad Aiken to Markson’s wife.
     Not his copy of Kurt Vonnegut’s Timequake, nor his copy of Gertrude Stein’s The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, nor his copy of Jorge Luis Borges’ Selected Poems, nor his copy of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Crack-Up, nor his copy of Dante’s Inferno, nor his copy of Homer’s Iliad.
     No. My most prized possession is a small little postcard he sent me in response to a letter I sent him.

     I wrote him two letters, actually.
     And I received two notecards in response.
     Both within just days of my having sent the letters. 

     The above scan is only the second of the two responses.

     One letter I handed to him when he made an appearance at the Strand upon the publication of The Last Novel in 2007. The other I sent just a few months before he died in 2010.
     This is the response I got on March 18th, 2010.
     He died less than three months later on June 4th, 2010.

     In the letter I sent him that prompted this response, I had created a short Marksonian list of monumental events that took place in New York City.
     Less monumental, actually, and more just peculiar.
     One such event I included, I remember, was when the Baronness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven punched William Carlos Williams in the face in 1921 for rejecting her advances.
     That is what Markson refers to when he says I “left out Willie Mays!”

     I had not included “the catch”—the infamous catch, one of the most memorable defensive plays in all of baseball history, which took place during Game 1 of the 1954 World Series between the New York Giants and the Cleveland Indians at the Polo Grounds in New York City.
     A “‘great’ catch” which Markson, in his review of Shay Oag’s book In the Presence of Death, wrote was followed by “back-slapping exultation.”
     My God, you left out Willie Mays!

     The rest of the note refers mostly to me offering to help him with anything if he needed it, to which he replied that he does “get by without help.”

     And then there’s the mention of his busted wrist.
     Dingus gestured vaguely with a hand that Hoke now saw to be bandaged, or rather it was the wrist.

     He was a sweet man to respond, and sweeter to have done so twice. And I appreciate, and will treasure, the fact that he wished me “the best of luck” with my writing.
     I had told him of the novel I’d been working on, but neither of us could know the other writing project that would announce itself to me only a few months later—after having found, stacked in miles and miles of books at the Strand, some of Markson’s own personal library. Neither of us could have known I’d be reading Markson reading, and blogging about it, such a short time after receiving this notecard.
     Quite sad.

     When I read the books of his I now own, and read what he wrote in many of their margins, I feel as though he’s reading with me, as though we’re discussing whatever book it is, as though he’s talking to me.
     But here, in this postcard, he IS actually talking to me. He’s literally addressing me:
     “Tyler, lad—”

     And that makes this my most prized Markson possession.

     (Someday I’ll share the other postcard he sent me a few years earlier—my other most prized Markson possession.)

     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.