Gore Vidal and the bomb
The novelist, Jay Parini, remembers how, as a young man, he was mentored by Gore Vidal.
One summer, I was sitting by his pool in Ravello, working on a piece of fiction. I wondered aloud if it were possible to hold the reader’s attention for about a dozen pages while my characters discussed Kierkegaard’s Christian existentialism. Vidal screwed his brow together, then said: Only if your characters are sitting in a railway car, and the reader knows there is a bomb under the seat.
Many writers, and others, have cause to remember Gore Vidal’s utterances. Wasn’t it him who referred to Ronald Reagan as a miracle of the embalmer’s art? This, of course, while the late president was still, allegedly, alive.