I saw an old photo of a young Norman Mailer. The blue eyes, the color of a brilliant summer sky, the slight smile, the gentleness that still worked around his face, all there. Still, from that time, wearing the attitude of one who would charge at his writing, charge at the public, charge at his wife. We all know he came to slash away at those who adored him and everything else. Everyone bought his novels and his short stories in the au currant magazines from Esquire to Harper’s. Some people even read them. He argued on the Dick Cavett show and heaped fuel on the fires of literary feuds. He showed up drunk if he showed up at all.

Eventually it all went away. He died, and no one talks about him anymore. I wonder if anything of his is read today. Maybe, but you wouldn’t know. All is quiet.

In the photos of his later years his lips had come together in a tightened pout, no longer with a slight smile, no gentleness. The lips had come to mimic those of Renee Zellweger.

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