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.

      Pg. 54  of David Markson’s copy of Fates Worse than Death by Kurt Vonnegut:
     On which Markson placed a check next to Vonnegut’s mention of Donald Barthelme’s memorial.
—-
     I do not know whether or not Markson attended Barthelme’s memorial, but Markson was friendly with the writer.
     Markson mentioned Barthelme in his novel Reader’s Block:     “For Protagonist’s less distant literary past:     Donald Barthelme: Tell me what you’ve been up to.     Protagonist: You’ll be sorry you asked. Do you want to hear about the lung cancer surgery I just had, or the prostate cancer surgery I’m going to have?     Donald Barthelme: Talk. And then I’ll tell you about my throat cancer.” (Pg. 160).
     Markson further spoke of his relationship with Barthelme:     “I lived over near Sixth, and so I’d frequently walk up West Eleventh and we’d run into each other. He was a famous writer, and I had no reputation at all, so I was always kind of quiet around him. He was the Donald Barthelme”     As quoted in Hiding Man: A Biography of Donald Barthelme by Tracy Daugherty. (Pg. 412).
     Markson then goes on to tell, in that Barthelme biography, a nice little story about Donald Barthelme wanting to “tell David Markson that he’s not always coming out of that liquor store.”     And Markson’s reply:     “I, of course, went to a different liquor store, and was probably there more often than Don was in his!” (Pg. 412).

     Pg. 54 of David Markson’s copy of Fates Worse than Death by Kurt Vonnegut:

     On which Markson placed a check next to Vonnegut’s mention of Donald Barthelme’s memorial.

—-

     I do not know whether or not Markson attended Barthelme’s memorial, but Markson was friendly with the writer.

     Markson mentioned Barthelme in his novel Reader’s Block:
     “For Protagonist’s less distant literary past:
     Donald Barthelme: Tell me what you’ve been up to.
     Protagonist: You’ll be sorry you asked. Do you want to hear about the lung cancer surgery I just had, or the prostate cancer surgery I’m going to have?
     Donald Barthelme: Talk. And then I’ll tell you about my throat cancer.” (Pg. 160).

     Markson further spoke of his relationship with Barthelme:
     “I lived over near Sixth, and so I’d frequently walk up West Eleventh and we’d run into each other. He was a famous writer, and I had no reputation at all, so I was always kind of quiet around him. He was the Donald Barthelme”
     As quoted in Hiding Man: A Biography of Donald Barthelme by Tracy Daugherty. (Pg. 412).

     Markson then goes on to tell, in that Barthelme biography, a nice little story about Donald Barthelme wanting to “tell David Markson that he’s not always coming out of that liquor store.”
     And Markson’s reply:
     “I, of course, went to a different liquor store, and was probably there more often than Don was in his!” (Pg. 412).

     Pg. 127  of David Markson’s copy of Fates Worse than Death by Kurt Vonnegut:
     On which Markson placed a checkmark next to the following sentences:     “The myth at the core of the political family which calls itself ‘Neo-Conservatives’ isn’t that explicit, but I know what it is, even if most of them can’t put it into words.  This is it: They are British aristocrats, graduates of Oxford or Cambridge, living in the world as it was one hundred years ago.”
—-
     Sadly, American foreign policy—whether Republicans or Democrats are in power—seems dominated by people “living in the world as it was one hundred years ago.”  The Neo-Cons are only the worst of us in this regard, but Americans in general prefer to live under this delusion that America is infallible, that we are the kings in this chess game and everyone else our pawns, that we have the right to be nation-builders (and nation-destroyers), and that no matter what happens we will always be the world’s greatest superpower.
     These are all delusions of grandeur.
     Must we remind ourselves that not only was Rome not built in a day, but it wasn’t destroyed in one either.
     Or as Markson wrote in Vanishing Point:     “Given pause by the coincidence of the Declaration of Independence having been signed in the same year as the publication of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.” (Pg. 176).
     All this reminds me, unsurprisingly, of our previous president, George W. Bush—undeniably one of the worst our nation has ever had—who exemplifies this trend of troubling American exceptionalism and so-called “cowboy diplomacy,” along with the other major problematic aspect of American culture: the fact that we as a people tend to be proud of our own ignorance.
     As though the intellectual culture that Markson so obviously reveres is something arcane and trivial, as though it should be mocked and/or depreciated and/or disregarded and/or disapproved of and/or openly battled against.
     When asked in an interview about his mentioning of George W. Bush and Rush Limbaugh in his last novel, The Last Novel, Markson replied:     “I hesitated about that; I usually don’t do it. My  attitude is that everybody should know even the most obscure painter or  composer. But fucking George W. Bush? A hundred years from now? Who will  know him any more than they know Chester Alan Arthur? Well, no, it’s  different, because he may end the world. But I think I released some  braces with this book when I let myself mention those few people.”     From the Conjunctions Interview.

     Pg. 127 of David Markson’s copy of Fates Worse than Death by Kurt Vonnegut:

     On which Markson placed a checkmark next to the following sentences:
     “The myth at the core of the political family which calls itself ‘Neo-Conservatives’ isn’t that explicit, but I know what it is, even if most of them can’t put it into words.  This is it: They are British aristocrats, graduates of Oxford or Cambridge, living in the world as it was one hundred years ago.”

—-

     Sadly, American foreign policy—whether Republicans or Democrats are in power—seems dominated by people “living in the world as it was one hundred years ago.”  The Neo-Cons are only the worst of us in this regard, but Americans in general prefer to live under this delusion that America is infallible, that we are the kings in this chess game and everyone else our pawns, that we have the right to be nation-builders (and nation-destroyers), and that no matter what happens we will always be the world’s greatest superpower.

     These are all delusions of grandeur.

     Must we remind ourselves that not only was Rome not built in a day, but it wasn’t destroyed in one either.

     Or as Markson wrote in Vanishing Point:
     “Given pause by the coincidence of the Declaration of Independence having been signed in the same year as the publication of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.” (Pg. 176).

     All this reminds me, unsurprisingly, of our previous president, George W. Bush—undeniably one of the worst our nation has ever had—who exemplifies this trend of troubling American exceptionalism and so-called “cowboy diplomacy,” along with the other major problematic aspect of American culture: the fact that we as a people tend to be proud of our own ignorance.

     As though the intellectual culture that Markson so obviously reveres is something arcane and trivial, as though it should be mocked and/or depreciated and/or disregarded and/or disapproved of and/or openly battled against.

     When asked in an interview about his mentioning of George W. Bush and Rush Limbaugh in his last novel, The Last Novel, Markson replied:
     “I hesitated about that; I usually don’t do it. My attitude is that everybody should know even the most obscure painter or composer. But fucking George W. Bush? A hundred years from now? Who will know him any more than they know Chester Alan Arthur? Well, no, it’s different, because he may end the world. But I think I released some braces with this book when I let myself mention those few people.”
     From the Conjunctions Interview.

Pg. 60 of David Markson’s copy of Fates Worse than Death by Kurt Vonnegut:
On which Markson placed a checkmark next to a paragraph discussing the sex life of Nelson Algren:"My introduction stops here. I knew very little about Algren’s sex life (or about my own, for that matter). I subsequently learned from Deirdre Bair’s Simone de Beauvoir (Summit, 1990) that he helped Miss de Beauvoir achieve her first orgasm. (The only person I ever helped achieve a first orgasm was good old me.) In Iowa City, Algren would refer to her as ‘Madame Yak Yak’ because she had given their relationship so much publicity.”
—-
"Nelson Algren, not Sartre, gave Simone de Beauvoir her first orgasm."Wrote Markson on pg. 30 of Reader’s Block, utilizing the above information.
He also mentions it on pg. 145 of The Last Novel:"Simone de Beauvoir’s affair with Nelson Algren.Which she later infuriated him by writing about.”
Not only did “Madame Yak Yak” not achieve her first orgasm with Sartre, but she was also taller than him, as Markson explained in Vanishing Point:"Simone de Beauvoir was one inch taller than Sartre." (Pg. 133).
Though there is absolutely no evidence to conclude that these facts are at all related—and how or why would they be?—am I the only one tempted to draw some sort of ridiculous conclusion? 
Maybe I should write The Essential Sartre: A Biographical Adventure…
I’m sure I could come up with some stuff so speculatively silly it’s laughable…

Pg. 60 of David Markson’s copy of Fates Worse than Death by Kurt Vonnegut:

On which Markson placed a checkmark next to a paragraph discussing the sex life of Nelson Algren:
"My introduction stops here. I knew very little about Algren’s sex life (or about my own, for that matter). I subsequently learned from Deirdre Bair’s Simone de Beauvoir (Summit, 1990) that he helped Miss de Beauvoir achieve her first orgasm. (The only person I ever helped achieve a first orgasm was good old me.) In Iowa City, Algren would refer to her as ‘Madame Yak Yak’ because she had given their relationship so much publicity.”

—-

"Nelson Algren, not Sartre, gave Simone de Beauvoir her first orgasm."
Wrote Markson on pg. 30 of Reader’s Block, utilizing the above information.

He also mentions it on pg. 145 of The Last Novel:
"Simone de Beauvoir’s affair with Nelson Algren.
Which she later infuriated him by writing about.”

Not only did “Madame Yak Yak” not achieve her first orgasm with Sartre, but she was also taller than him, as Markson explained in Vanishing Point:
"Simone de Beauvoir was one inch taller than Sartre." (Pg. 133).

Though there is absolutely no evidence to conclude that these facts are at all related—and how or why would they be?—am I the only one tempted to draw some sort of ridiculous conclusion? 

Maybe I should write The Essential Sartre: A Biographical Adventure

I’m sure I could come up with some stuff so speculatively silly it’s laughable…

Pg. 72 of David Markson’s copy of Fates Worse Than Death by Kurt Vonnegut:
On which Markson responds to Vonnegut’s quoting of Twain with a check mark and the words: “Moral: Don’t ever quote anybody who is funnier than you are!”
—-
This seems like an ironic moral to be taken away by a man whose last four  novels are filled with the quotes of other writers and artists. 
Does  Markson think none of those he quoted are funnier than himself? 
Hmmm…

Pg. 72 of David Markson’s copy of Fates Worse Than Death by Kurt Vonnegut:

On which Markson responds to Vonnegut’s quoting of Twain with a check mark and the words:
“Moral: Don’t ever quote anybody who is funnier than you are!”

—-

This seems like an ironic moral to be taken away by a man whose last four novels are filled with the quotes of other writers and artists. 

Does Markson think none of those he quoted are funnier than himself? 

Hmmm…