Larry McMurtry and I shall never meet, yet I’m certain we’re kindred spirits. I picked up the second of his three-book memoir at the Dollar Store the other day. I’d never read any of his work, though I knew he’d won the Pulitzer Prize for Lonesome Dove and that he wrote the screen play for Brokeback Mountain. I’ve neither seen nor read either. To be honest, I haven’t been interested in cowboy themes since I was 9 and had a crush on Lash LaRue.
I almost didn’t buy the memoir, even for a dollar, but as it was the story of McMurtry’s life, I scanned the opening paragraphs out of curiosity. I was hooked from the outset. He loved, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” for example, one of my favorite poems. He hated math, as did I. And he read eclectically, turning to Marquis de Sade when young while I read the biographies of Rasputin and Count Cagliostro. Like me, he lives in awe of librarians. And like me, he believes poetry is the most difficult form of writing. The short story is second and the novel is third. What’s more, he confessed he didn’t feel like a success until he’d published his 5th book, a thought which gave me hope. When he confirmed my suspicion that few writers become rich from their craft, he gained my trust.
I have, at times, made a lot of it, [money] though never enough to allow my money to support me. It never has and it ain’t gonna… (A Literary Life, A second Memoir, by Larry McMurtry, pg. 9.)
(Courtesy of http://www.wikipedia.com)
He’s written 30 novels and numerous screen plays. To his credit, money was never the reason . A writer writes because he must, he said. That sold me. I paid my dollar and brought Larry McMurtry home.