See the Gates

Well, dear reader, I have a pretty bad admission to make: I never got around to seeing The Gates, Christo & Jeanne-Claude’s big installation in Central Park. The one Saturday that the official VM girlfriend & I were thinking of going, it was too darn cold. So I missed it. I was somewhat interested in it, just to see if it’d make a good impression on me. Plus, I could’ve tied it into a visit to the Frick and the Met, where I’d spend some time among friends.

To make up for it, I spent yesterday evening with David Gates, a senior editor at Newsweek and author of two novels I really enjoy: Jernigan and Preston Falls. David & I had been in correspondence off and on since 1996, since I called him outta the blue over at his day job. I think he was the first legit author I ever shot the bull with.

Since then, I’ve come to know several more authors, and there’s a key thing to know about them: Writers like to hear from people who like their books and stories. Corollary: Writers don’t like to hear from obsessive stalkers.

Gates & I had several nice conversations/exchanges over the years, and I got to meet up with him last night. When we first sat down, I mentioned that it had been nine years since we started corresponding, and David did that thing that Swann and his dad did, raising the glasses and rubbing the eyes and bridge of the nose. (A past girlfriend of mine once marveled of the fact that I’ve managed to never meet my 20-something-year-old first cousin who lives in Queens; that’s Israelites for ya . . .)

It was an entertaining evening. He spoke to a class of NYU freshmen about writing, then headed out with me and occasional VM contributor Elayne for a couple of drinks at a bar I’ll never find a hyperlink for. We slagged some authors, praised others, drank Makers Mark, and got back to slagging authors. I won’t dish, since David’s got a job to uphold.

And I’ve gotta get back to writing about methods development for extractables/leachables testing in pharmaceutical processes.

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