Mickey Knox, February 17, 1964

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NORMAN MAILER’s Letters
142 Columbia Heights
Brooklyn 1, New York
February 17, 1964

Dear Mickey,

This is the worst day in the world to write you a letter because I’m in a foul mood and have forty other letters to get through before the day is done. But if I don’t write you today another month will go by, because what with the serial taking up almost all the time, I try to take care of all the mail once a month. Anyway, there’s very little in the form of news. I’m simply working my ass off, and going out very little, seeing very few people, and keeping my nose over the top of a pencil. In return, things have been quiet and nice here. Bev’s pregnancy has been going along pleasantly and my life has been for me remarkably stable. Sometimes a week goes by before I get a chance to do some serious drinking. So that’s it on the news.

The biggest excitement in New York this year culturally has been “Dr. Strangelove” and the arrival of the Beatles, who, surprise, sounded kind of nice when I saw them on television. And “Dr. Strangelove” you’ve got to see. It’s the only great movie I know which is great not because it’s great as a movie but because it’s sociologically great that the thing was made.

I hope things are going ok between you and Joan. How’s her pregnancy? I’m a little pissed off at her because I asked her to ring and say goodbye before she left and she didn’t, which bugs me somehow. I mean like, you know, I knew her when.

I feel apologetic about this letter because your last one was fascinating and full of news, and this one of mine reads like last week’s newspapers, but truthfully it’s not depression, it’s just the weight of work. I was thinking about you yesterday and the couple of good evenings we had just before you left, and I wished you were back in New York again.

Best, Mickey, and love,
Norm

P.S. I think Henderson the Rain King could make a great movie, so here’s wishing you luck on that. I’m sure you’ve thought of this, but it occurs to me that Welles might be interested in playing Henderson; and it might be interesting to try to get Sonny Liston to play Dahfu. If you can get a picture started, I’ll go and talk to Liston because I’m on fairly good terms with his manager, Jack Nilon.[1]

This page is part of
An American Dream Expanded.

Notes

  1. Nothing came of the idea of having Orson Welles play Henderson and Sonny Liston play Dahfu in a film version of Saul Bellow’s Henderson the Rain King. Knox attempted unsuccessfully to convince Welles to buy the rights.