Archive | August, 2012

700 and Going Strong!

2 Aug

Brenda Hadley of Fairfax, Virginia, purchases the 700th copy of The Discreet Charms of a Bourgeois Beach Town.



Remembering Gore Vidal

2 Aug

Novels, plays, essays, screenplays: Gore Vidal did it all when it came to writing.  He died at age 86 in Los Angeles on Tuesday. While I wouldn’t list Gore Vidal among my favorite writers, I’ve always found him an interesting sort of provocateur and a very fine essayist and chronicler of American life.

My first encounter with Vidal was back in 1975 right after he wrote the novel Myron and substituted the names of Supreme Court Justices for sex words to protest an anti-pornography ruling. I purchased the book at the Tanglewood Mall in Roanoke, Virginia.  And while I’m sure I didn’t quite understand the book back then at age 15, I did know that I just had to have it and that I ought to keep it hidden, which I did in my bedroom’s suspended ceiling.

Believe it or not, but Gore Vidal influenced this book.  No, he never visited Rehoboth Beach as far as I know.  He did, however, mention Rehoboth once in an essay entitled “At Home in Washington, DC” from 1982.  In it he said:

Before air-conditioning, Washington was deserted from Mid-June to September…The gentry withdrew to the northern resorts. Middle-income people flocked to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware or Virginia Beach, which was slightly more racy.

Rehoboth, according to Gore Vidal, was indeed a bourgeois beach town.  And if anyone should know, it was Vidal.

I had considered using this quote in the front matter of the book, but was somewhat worried that the litigious Vidal (or his people) might cause me some problems. What was I thinking? Why would Vidal even have know I was alive?  And had his lawyers come with a cease and desist letter, why, it would have been the best publicity for the book that I can imagine.  Next edition…