Don Carpenter, January 15, 1964

From Project Mailer
142 Columbia Heights
Brooklyn 1, New York
January 15, 1964

Dear Don,[1]

My letters are getting as short as short hairs. The serial has me close to pissing blood because the ten thousand more or less finished words each month screws me tight as a twisted wire. So when I finish, as I’ve just done with the fourth installment—I have to stay two installments ahead to meet the magazine’s schedule of deadlines—I usually fall on the mail like a demented zoo animal and do my best to eat it up. So this is really just to say that I liked your letter of December 22 which you sent December 30 and the praise was fine, and I just hope I don’t let everybody down. Because a good beginning is one thing, but “the keeping up” (which is Henry James’ little language for it, of course) is something else. Anyway, at this point, the trip is still being taken alone. Let’s see if there’s snow blindness near or far out on our fields. And let me hear what you think of the second installment if you’re in the mood. Despite my remarks about the praise up above, you are, buddy, believe it or not, free to register disappointment. For one thing each installment is sixty days behind me so I’m worried more about where I am now than where I was then, and also if something is not good enough one’s friends are only hurting one’s sense of reality if they neglect to tell you.

Say hello to Michael McClure[2] if you see him and give him my best. Tell him I’d like to talk to him about his Meat Science Essays if we get a chance.

This page is part of
An American Dream Expanded.


  1. Don Carpenter was a west coast novelist who corresponded regularly with Mailer in the 1960s.
  2. Michael McClure, Beat poet, musician and playwright, was a major figure in the San Francisco Renaissance of the 1950s and 1960s. Mailer wrote a foreword to his play, The Beard (1967). Mailer saw Carpenter and McClure in San Francisco during the summer of 1963.