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263 pages, Paperback
First published July 18, 2017
What was it like to live with genius?
Like living alone.
Like living alone with a tiger.
Everything had to be sacrificed for the work. Plans had to be canceled, meals had to be delayed; liquor had to be bought, as soon as possible, or else all poured into the sink. Money had to be rationed or spent lavishly, changing daily. The sleep schedule was the poet's to make, and it was as often late nights as it was early mornings. The habit was the demon pet in the house; the habit, the habit, the habit; the morning coffee and books and poetry, the silence until noon. Could he be tempted by a morning stroll? He could, he always could; it was the only addiction where the sufferer longed for anything but the desired; but a morning walk meant work undone, and suffering, suffering, suffering. Keep the habit, help the habit; lay out the coffee and poetry; keep the silence; smile when he walked sulkily out of his office to the bathroom. Taking nothing personally. And did you sometimes leave an art book around with a thought that it would be the key to his mind? And did you sometimes put on music that might unlock the doubt and fear? Did you love it, the rain dance every day? Only when it rained.
He kisses—how do I explain it? Like someone in love. Like he has nothing to lose. Like someone who has just learned a foreign language and can use only the present tense and only the second person. Only now, only you. There are some men who have never been kissed like that. There are some men who discover, after Arthur Less, that they never will be again.Greer’s Less held a quiet strength that remained insulated from the attacks of his heartaches and failures. His propensity to love remained strangely endearing despite the abuse of its past caretakers. His worldview refused to fall on the pessimistic side, no matter the amount of mayhem shoved down his throat. His brook of hope continued to flow even as bursts of loneliness rocked its bed. In his shoes, I felt shining and cowering. And I felt like hugging him tight. I also felt like hugging Greer tight. You shall know why when you read the book.
“How can so many things become a bore by middle age — philosophy, radicalism, and other fast foods— but heartbreak keeps its sting?”Read if you have ever known this sting.
Once you’ve actually been in love, you can’t live with “will do”; it’s worse than living with yourself.
He has never seen another gay man age past fifty, none except Robert. He met them all at forty or so but never saw them make it much beyond: they died of AIDS, that generation.
It is our duty to show something beautiful from our world. The gay world. But in your books, you make the character suffer without reward. If I didn’t know better, I’d think you were a republican.
Twenty years of joy and support and friendship, that’s a success. Twenty years of anything with another person is a success. If a band stays together twenty years, it’s a miracle. If a comedy duo stays together twenty years, they’re a triumph. Is this night a failure because it will end in an hour? (s the sun a failure because it’s going to end in a billion years? No, it’s the fucking sun. Why does a marriage not count?