Samuel Beckett,
Gabriel Garcia Marquez,
Gay's Mom's Boobs, and
RALPH and Books about Sex


It was with mild interest I read your review of A Round-Heeled Woman, My Late-Life Adventures in Sex and Romance by Jane Juska.

You seem to have something about sex.

About one out of three of your reviews on occasion talk about other things: trees, history, philosophy, poetry, art, biography.

But then in the next review down it's back to the old grind.

What's with you? If we want pornography, there's any number of places on the Internet where we can go.

In addition I receive in my e-mail box daily offerings of extensions for my penis (even though I am a woman) "hot chixx from Russia "or "hot, wet teens" (even though I am a normal adult heterosexual) and devices to "make you climax faster" even though I prefer the simpler things in life.

Could I suggest this? Why don't you give the sex routine a rest for awhile?

Give us more Chinese pottery, readings from H. G. Wells, architecture, Greek history, psychotherapeutic theories, contemporary culture studies, and, if you choose, rock gardening.

Leave this wet stuff for the late teen-agers and the professional moondance pornographers.

--- Sincerely,
B. J. Walters

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Thanks for the fine review of the thing by Gay Block. Is that her real name, I wonder?

You made one glaring, obvious mistake, though. The mom's boobs ARE better-looking than the daughter's. Weird as that seems.

--- Cye J.

Go to the review in question

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I hope this note is not too forward. I was doing a little research on Garcia Marquez, and came upon your website. It seems that the Gabriel Garcia Marquez "final letter" you have re-printed originated as an Internet hoax.

G. G. M. has apparently denied it, and his denial of the letter has been reported in several sources. Your report of his lymphatic cancer is accurate, and he is preparing a three-volume set of memoirs, the first of which has already been published.

It would seem appropriate to include a remark regarding the veracity of the letter or remove the reprinted letter, if further research confirms the hoax.

--- Best
David Dies

Go to the letter in question.

§     §     §


I just searched in Google for Canadian magazine subscriptions and found ranked 85.

I have a related website about Books and Magazines that's purely informational (so I'm NOT a competitor of yours) and I'd like to link to your site.

I consider my site to be one of the best resources for this type of information. I get a decent amount of visitors to it so if I link to you, your site should get some decent traffic from it.

I only link to good quality sites... I think you'll find my site to be high quality as well. In exchange, I would ask that you also link to my site. I've already linked to you and will keep it there for a few days until I hear from you. Please let me know asap if you're interested and i'll send you my information.

Angela Palmer

Dear Angela:

Thanks for your e-mail. Our problem is that we never link to anyone, anywhere. Why? Beats me. It just seems like trouble, and we can scarcely get enough reviewers for our books, get our new issues up every three weeks, much less think about links.

Yours seems like a kind offer, so I appreciate what you want to do (I never knew we were #85 in anything!) and am sorry that it is just over our heads. Thanks for thinking of us.

--- Lolita Lark

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I would like to contact L.M. Milam who published items in #5 and #8 of RALPH. Mention was made of how he wrote to Samuel Beckett in 1975.

If possible we would like to get a photocopy of his letter to and from Beckett.

--- Many thanks
Lois Overbeck
The Correspondence of Samuel Beckett
Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
Emory University Atlanta, GA 30322

Dear Lois:

Thanks for your e-mail of this week.

"All That Fall" was certainly one of Beckett's greatest plays, but is not known to most people because it was written for radio, and radio drama has never been big in America. Certainly one of the most selfish failures of NPR is their reluctance to commission and broadcast radio PLAYS of this stature.

The British Broadcasting Corporation on the other hand has come up with some exquisite radio productions. One was Beckett's play. Donald McWhinnie, a seasoned director at the BBC was in charge of the production and, years later, I find that lines from the play will pop up in my mind, lines like

Mrs. Rooney: I remember once attending a lecture by one of these new mind doctors, I forget what you call them. He spoke ...

Mr Rooney: A lunatic specialist?

Mrs. Rooney: No no, just the troubled mind, I was hoping he might shed a little light on my lifelong preoccupation with horses' buttocks.

Mr. Rooney: A Neurologist?

Mrs. Rooney: No no, just mental distress, the name will come back to me in the night. I remember his telling us the story of a little girl, very strange and unhappy in her ways, and how he treated her unsuccessfully over a period of years and was finally obliged to give up the case. He could find nothing wrong with her, he said. The only thing wrong with her as far as he could see was that she was dying. And she did in fact die, shortly after he washed his hands of her.

Mr. Rooney: Well? What is there so wonderful about that?

Mrs. Rooney: No. it was just something he said, and the way he said it, that has haunted me ever since. When he had done with the little girl he stood there motionless for some time, quite two minutes I should say, looking down at his table. Then he suddenly raised his head and exclaimed, as if he had had a revelation, "The trouble with her was she had never really been born!" [Pause] He spoke throughout without notes. [Pause] I left before the end ... [Sobs] There's nothing to be done for those people!

Mr. Rooney: For which is there?

+ + +

When I was working at Pacifica's KPFA in 1958, I was the on-the-air person one Sunday night when they first played a BBC transcription of "All That Fall." I made a copy of it and carried it around to the various stations I started around the US, playing it on the air when I could.

By 1975, my tape had stretched, so I wrote to Beckett in care of the BBC and asked if he could scare up a copy so I could continue to play it on the air. He replied promptly with a handwritten aerogramme.

I could barely read his writing. His penmanship, I realized, was as obscure as some of his dramas. Some friends who also have bad penmanship helped me to translate it. It said that he thanked me for my kind words, but that the "Queen's Charter" did not permit him or the BBC to make copies available, and he thanked me again for my interest.

When I finally firgured out who the letter was from, I had it framed and put it on the wall of my house in Dallas where I was living at the time. Unfortunately, the station I was involved in --- KCHU --- was forced off the air by a combination of militancy and lack of funding and general bad planning. When I left in the summer of 1977 and moved, I am afraid some of my things got left behind: Beckett's letter was one of them. I haven't been able to find it since.

Because it was the only letter I ever got from a famous person (except from George Bush I asking for a contribution to his political efforts), I regret its loss. Not to sell, you understand, but so I could hang it on my wall. Beckett was and is a true hero of mine.

--- L. W. Milam

P. S. Actually, my affection for Beckett did get me another letter from a rather famous writer. John Banville wrote an article for the TLS or The London Review of Books (I can't remember which) about Beckett which was wise and perceptive. It did not mention "All That Fall" so I wrote and told Banville of my affection for the play, suggesting that it was Beckett at his best, possibly even better than some of his stage writings.

Banville responded with a letter that was, as opposed to Beckett's, totally legible. He said, indeed, he had heard and read "All That Fall" but simply didn't have room for it in his article, and promised that he would try to get a copy from the BBC, and if he did, to share it with me if at all possible and legal. That's the last I've heard of it.

If you can get a copy of the play, I would be delighted. I've heard other versons that were not by Donald McWhinney, and they just do not compare.

--- LWM

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