Mickey Knox, June 2, 1964

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NORMAN MAILER’s Letters
142 Columbia Heights
Brooklyn 1, New York
June 2, 1964

Dear Mick,

It’s now more than a month after your last letter, and no further news from you, and not a word from Omar Sharif, whom I did see in Lawrence of Arabia, and did think was marvelous. Incidentally, he’s a very handsome but exact version of Fred Betah,[1] so I felt as if I knew him very well. What did Joan think of him?[2]

And when is the baby due? It must be any day now. Send me a telegram when it happens. If it’s after June 3, Mickey, send it to me c/o Arlie Sinaiko, 603 Commercial Street, Provincetown, Mass.

Well, I’m finally coming to the end of An American Dream. I’ve finished the last installment rough draft, and I’m giving it the final polish. What a murderous fucking installment this last one has been. I’m in pretty good shape, but of course tense as hell, and all burned out from smoking. I feel just the way a wire must feel after a short circuit. But the book is pretty good, I think, and if it does nothing else, will make me enough money so that I can pay my alimony for a couple of years. I don’t think anything changed my life quite so much as losing my loot on the stock market and having to pay Adele that twenty grand a year. It’s amazing how I, who was always so impractical, am now making a living.

Incidentally, I’m pretty sure I did receive a letter from you about ten days ago, a typewritten letter, but I’ve looked all around and can’t seem to find it, of all the damn luck. Anyway, in it I seem to remember your asking about the movie of An American Dream. It’s simple enough. Warner’s took an option for twenty grand, against $200,000 if they take it within four months after completion. Some of the newspapers reported it was sold outright at $300,000, but that of course was Hollywood reporting. Anyway, if you get into a situation where you have money to make your movie, run into trouble, and need a few thousand more, I’d probably be able to help you. I’d offer to put up the full twenty-five grand you mentioned in your letter, but I’m likely to clear no more than $100,000 after debts, taxes, what-have-you, and I’ve got to put most of the money aside so that I can get to work on the big novel.

No news other than work. I’ve hardly seen a soul in weeks, and spend most of my time pushing a pencil. But this summer we’re going to be in Provincetown for four months. Is there any chance you’ll be back in the States between June and September? Because if so, I’d sure like you to come up—I think we’d have room to put you up.

Wish Joan a good delivery for me. Bev has been in pretty good shape, and Michael is nothing but a prick. Every time his mother changes his diaper, he gets a hard-on.

Best, and love,
Norm
This page is part of
An American Dream Expanded.

Notes

  1. Fred Betah was the first husband of Joan Morales.
  2. Joan was Mickey’s third wife and the sister of Mailer’s second wife, Adele Morales.