Some of these pieces are taken from my journals, such as they are,
that I’ve kept over the years…usually at the bottom of moldy
cardboard boxes stashed in various parts of the country. They’ve been
tinkered with, of course, some more than others; but I’ve tried, with
varying degrees of success, to keep them accurate in both detail and
tone. Certain names not important to the stories have been changed for
obvious reasons, and a few events have been placed out of sequence;
some few things have even been made up. This is called writing and
does no harm unless it tells outright lies. Christopher Isherwood
might have thought he was a camera, but I was not a tape recorder.
Certain friends who claim to like my stories about other people, some
of whom were famous or otherwise notable, have suggested that I write
them down. It occurs to me that such a collection provides an
opportunity to slip in autobiographical information that by itself
would not merit attention. It’s definitely a free and sneaky way to
write one’s memoirs and create an aura of self-importance. But if
these things are not strictly autobiographical, neither are they to be
considered fictional. Robert Kennedy, for instance, was really Robert
Kennedy. Whereas I am mostly made up.
I often switch from the present tense to the past because I am taking
a look back, usually a long look back, at what happened decades
earlier. Some of the writing is fifty years old, and some was done
yesterday. I fuck with time because time has always fucked with me.
I am an old man who has moved around a lot during the past 80 years,
mostly in North America. I saw some of the larger world but didn’t much care for it. Outside of my own countries, Canada and the USA—I was recently retroactively granted dual citizenship—there was the risk of suffering dysentery or getting shot at. This is not to say America is without risk: I’ve had the shits in Montreal and got shot at in Los Angeles. Think of me as the guy standing on a curb, just an observer, who sees an accident in the street and is later interviewed or testifies as an eye witness.
The following pieces, then, are about a few of the things and people I’ve witnessed. The curb is a pretty good vantage point—it’s much safer than in the street.
… also from Tobias Flint…