Archivist, Biographer, Educator

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Mike Interviews Susan Mailer

J. Michael Lennon: As a practicing psychoanalyst, you have published professional papers, but this is your first creative work. Why did you decide to write a memoir?

Susan Mailer: In 2013 I was invited to be the keynote speaker at the Norman Mailer Society Conference. I decided to write a personal vignette that would shed light on an unknown aspect of my father’s life. Immediately, I remembered those months Dad had spent in Mexico when I was a small child and had taken me to the bullfights. I hadn’t thought about the corridas in more than 40 years, but the images were all there, waiting to be retrieved: the music, the atmosphere, the smell of beer and Mexican snacks, people cheering, and most of all the black bull running, panting, fighting for his life, and finally dying.

Before the Norman Mailer Conference, I had participated in psychoanalytic conferences and written papers that were published in journals. Thinking about my life and setting it down on paper was a new experience. I dug into my memories, waited for my unconscious to work through the gray areas, and a piece of my life with Dad appeared. The writing flowed, and I enjoyed it. I thought I want to do more of this. And I also thought, many books have been written about Dad, but few people know what he was like as a father. I decided to plunge into unknown territory and began writing the memoir.

Read the entire interview in Hippocampus Magazine.

Review of Barbara Feinman Todd’s Latest

To lead off, a few facts: the three journalists Todd worked with are Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein and Ben Bradlee, the trio responsible for bringing down Richard Nixon by revealing his complicity in the Watergate break-in cover up. The first lady was Hillary Clinton.

Art Installation in Torrington Is a Colorful Reflection of a River, and a Community

Danielle Mailer enlisted local volunteers to help create a mural-like work, with enormous fish covered in bright patterns, along the Naugatuck.

On the Road with Gore Vidal

The ideal biographical journey, as Vidal saw it, would skirt his social snobbery and namedropping; minimize his alcoholism; rationalize his sexual tourism in Bangkok.” Mike reviews Parini’s new biography of Gore Vidal in the TLS.

Remembering Norris

Barry and Mike, 2003

Sparkling Times for Norman Mailer’s Legacy

The latest issue of The Mailer Review reflects the celebrated author’s multifaceted personality with articles on some of his major works and reminiscences from his family.

The Marshall Plan

How a bedroom-sized collection of papers and artifacts of acclaimed novelist James Jones made their way to UIS.

Sighting: On the Shelf

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Photo by: Stephen Borkowski

 

Mike Interviews Jason Carney

To celebrate the release of Starve the Vulture — the latest release in Akashic’s Kaylie Jones Books imprint — J. Michael Lennon spoke with Jason Carney about his inspirations, writing a memoir, and the differences between poetry and prose.

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