“Most stories begin with ‘you can’t do THAT,’ but then you think, ‘I’m not gonna get arrested; let me try it.'”
“I’m always in the middle of a struggle with a short story. You’d think I’d have the hang of it by now. It’s a slippery animal.”
“We think courage is what happens on the battlefield, but I think it’s a necessary ingredient to do really good writing.”
“Hollywood to me was fun. Like a boy being let loose in a candy store. I was offended when I’d get called in off the tennis court to write a few scenes. I can tell you: there is no one who had more fun than I did in Hollywood.”
After a long decline, legendary author Bruce Jay Friedman died on June 3, 2020, at the age of 90. He was the first pantheon-level writer I ever recorded with, and his work means the world to me, so please join me as we celebrate his life and work by revisiting our February 2014 conversation. I’ve recorded a brief new introduction and remastered the audio. (The conversation starts at 6:55.) Give it a listen! And go read Bruce’s short fiction, his memoir, and all his novels!
About our Guest
Novelist, playwright, short story writer and Oscar-nominated screenwriter Bruce Jay Friedman was born in New York City. Friedman published his first novel Stern in 1962 and established himself as a writer and playwright, most famously known for his off-Broadway hit Steambath (1973) (TV) and his 1978 novel The Lonely Guy’s Book of Life. In addition to short stories and plays, Friedman has also published another seven novels, and has written numerous screenplays, including the Oscar-nominated Splash (1984). Until his death on June 3, 2020, he resided in New York City with his second wife, educator Patricia J. O’Donohue.
Credits: This episode’s music is Fella by Hal Mayforth, used with permission from the artist. The conversation was recorded at Bruce’s home in New York City on a pair of Blue enCORE 200 Microphones feeding into a Zoom H5 digital recorder. I recorded the intro and outro on a Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Microphone feeding into a Cloudlifter CL-1 and a Mackie Onyx Blackjack 2×2 USB Recording Interface. Processing was done in Audacity and Garage Band in 2014 and remastered with some editing in 2020 in Adobe Audition CC. Photo of Bruce Jay Friedman by me. It’s on my instagram.