Jim Haynes newsletters

Newsletter No. 300
trip to Berlin, Warsaw, and Vilnius
April 1994

Saturday, 9th: The usual madness that always unfolds the day of departure. Hundreds telephone to book for the Sunday dinner; all are upset to learn there will not be one. Maybe next week. Read in this morning's "Trib" that old friend Joan Juliet Buck will be next editor of French "Vogue". Fire off a congratulations letter to her. Also write a note to Mary Guggenheim. John Flattau calls from New York City and I report that I depart to Vilnius tonight. He asks that best wishes be passed to Almantas. Susannah calls and will pass for tea this afternoon. I call Barbara Hoff in Warsaw and Almantas in Vilnius. Stephanie calls to thank me for taking her and Amber to dine last night. Ted passes and I change $100 for him. Somehow manage to pack. Very lightly. Mary Blake arrives with about 100 glasses. Susannah passes for tea. She is a delight! And so it goes until I head for the RER and the Gare du Nord and the night train to Berlin. Total madness in the train; not a seat or sleeping place to be had in either first or second class. End up riding in the baggage car all the way with a bunch of students from America and Germany. It's funny.

Sunday, 10th: The train pulls into Berlin Zoo Garten about 9.30. Say goodbye to Marek Keller, a student of Media Studies at Berlin University. Go downstairs and purchase a ticket to Warsaw and back to Paris. Call Norma Moriceau and this time she is awake. She asks for pastry and newspapers. Change $100. Try to purchase newspapers, but they have not yet arrived. Get a taxi and ask the young driver to stop along the way for some pastry. He is an ex-Yugoslav from Croatia. Extremely nice fellow. He stops on the Kurfurstendamm and I pick up some superb fresh French pastry. All warm. Back in the taxi and insist the driver have a pain au chocolat. I have one as well and it is delicious. Just before we arrive at Norma's, we get caught in a traffic jam. The street is blocked for marathon runners. Cannot help but think of Yves Monnet. The driver cuts of the meter, but when we arrive at Norma's, I give him a big tip. Norma produces a big hug and a large mug of coffee. She tells me "Anthony and Cleopatra" gossip and I bring her up to date with Emile the Rat. She puts on a videocassette and we watch a silly tv programme from London. About noon I call Dave Rimmer and ask if he would like to lunch with us at Cafe Einstein. He says he will join us there. Make a few more calls but fail to find anyone at home. We get an excellent table in the corner thanks to a fellow called Gerhard Walter, who has just finished his breakfast. Our waiter, Oliver, knows Valeska Bachauer. Give him a note to give to her. Dave arrives just as we are finishing our feast. More gossip. Then it is time for me to taxi to the Hauptbahnhof. Once again no London newspapers; there seems to be no demand in the ex-DDR. Find the train on platform 1, share a compartment with a young couple in love, and read all the way to Warsaw. Do not attempt to engage them in conversation. Robert is waiting on the platform. We are soon on our way to ulica Dobra. Get a warm welcome from Barbara Hoff. We eat and talk and then I fall into bed.

Monday, 11th: Great night's sleep. I must have been very tired. B.H. calls LOT and books a flight for me to Vilnius. Quickly wash, dress, have a cup of coffee. Make a few telephone calls; talk with Pawel Brodowski and Krzysztof Traficz, but fail to reach others. Pawel reports it is his daughter's birthday and his parents' 50th wedding anniversary. Barbara insists upon driving me to the airport. It's a beautiful warm and sunny day. She drives a secret back route to the air port to avoid the heavy traffic. Pick up my ticket, go thru customs, and head for gate 2. A young American sits next to me and reads "The Trib". Engage him in conversation and learn he is from Chicago and teaches Media Studies at Vilnius University. His name is Stashu Kybartas. Of course he is of Lithuanian descent. We sit near each other on the plane and chat all the way. He has seen a copy of my Baltic book. Behind me in the plane is a beautiful blonde from Warsaw called Margaret; she will be five days in Vilnius for her Danish company and will fly back next Friday. Tell her we will sit together because I plan to take the Friday flight as well. The plane is full of young Belgium kids speaking French loudly. It's a quick one hour flight. Stashu suggests we share a taxi into the Old Town together, but that we take the bus two or three stops before getting a taxi. Much cheaper than dealing with the air port mafia. Soon we are at the Astoria Hotel and two dollars poorer. They give me room 114; when I stayed last September I had 113. Stashu suggests we meet at 6 at a vernissage in the Academic Gallery. Call Almantas and tell him that I will be at his place in 20 minutes. He and I are soon catching each other up to date. He is still not 100% OK, but he is much better. He can now walk, albeit slowly. We talk about Gediminas Dubutkus and the books I want to print in Lithuania. Stella is out giving English lessons, but I leave a Collin Street fruit cake for her. Head back to the hotel and make a dozen calls. Then go to the gallery cafe and have soup, chicken Kiev, and ice cream. Walk to the Academic Gallery, but no sign of Stashu. See lots of young people. Even talk with a few. Back to Astoria. Call Almantas and he says that he and Gediminas can be at the hotel at 20.15. Over they come. We discuss printing Mary Guggenheim's novel and Roy Williamson's poetry. Of course prices have increased. Yet they are still cheaper than in the West. But the quality of paper and printing is not as good. Nevertheless give Gediminas the go-ahead. He will check with printers and paper-sellers and we will meet again in a day or two. Give him $500 first payment. They depart and I go out for a walkabout. City is dark and quiet.

Tuesday, 12th: Up very early. Call Donata Kalneva and she says she cannot see me today. Maybe tomorrow. Call Lolita Varanavishene and we agree to meet in the hotel at noon and have lunch. After a quick breakfast, return to my room for a shave, shower, shampoo. Call Stashu and discover we missed each other yesterday by minutes. He suggests that we dine tonight with some friends in Rita Dapkute's new pizza restaurant. Call Matthias Lutkens at his office and am told by a lovely woman's voice that he will not be in the office until after 2pm today. Matthias is the editor of "Vilnius in Your Pocket", a very hip guide to the city. Attempt to reach Jolanta's friends once again and once again the line is engaged. Outside it is lovely and warm. Buy a map of Vilnius for Bill Levy. Go to the Contemporary Art Museum to see Stashu's installation. It is very moving. His Lithuanian grandfather died aged 35, a coalminer in Pennsylvania. Back to Astoria. Purchase "The Baltic Outlook"; it is produced by Andrew Humphreys and Gadi Farfour and seems to be sponsored by "The Baltic Independent". Both Andrew and Gadi are friends. Their paper is superb I am pleased to report. Lolita arrives and we catch each other up to date. She has created a publishing house and seeks my advice and help. We elect to have lunch in the new Stikliai cafe and slowly make our way there. She is excited about becoming a publisher and wants me to recommend writers. I suggest Alan Furst's two novels, DARK STAR and NIGHT SOLDIERS, Suzanne Brogger's DELIVER US FROM LOVE, and all of Ryszard Kapuscinski's books. She wants to publish Michael Ondaatje. When I tell her that I have met him, she asks me to send her his address in Toronto. I promise to do it and more. I also propose we publish a Peter van Straaten postcard book together. I will provide the capital and she will co-ordinate the Lithuanian production and distribution. Lunch is fun. Three lovely local ladies share our table. Afterwards we go for a stroll. Later I return to the Astoria and just as I enter my room, the telephone rings and it is Matthias Lutkens. We made a date to meet at the hotel at 5pm. I call Almantas and he says he will collect me at the hotel at 8pm and we can take a taxi to our dinner chez Svajove & Paulius Stanikas. Nap and read. Try to call Andrew & Gadi at the office of the "Baltic Independent". The woman who answers says they are in Tallinn. I say I know this. Tell her that Jim from Paris sends his greetings. Irena Jomantiene tells me her husband, Alfredas Jomantas, is in Paris. I offer to deliver a letter to him for her. Later meet Mathias in the lobby and he suggests we go for a drink in the neighborhood. I am expecting Stashu, so leave a message for him at reception. We walk to a new bar only about one minute away. Mathias and I discover we have Bernard Holtrop in common. Mathias has never met Bernard, but is a big fan of his drawings. Mathias is a stringer for "Liberation" and he contacted Bernard via the paper to seek permission to use drawings in his magazine. Stashu appears and the three of us have a lively talk about Vilnius and Rita's new restaurant. Both are big fans. Stashu and I walk to his apartment where I call Almantas to arrange for him to collect me at Rita's restaurant. Stashu and I taxi to the restaurant. His friends soon arrive. They are Chet Rhodes, a professor of media in the College of Journalism at the University of Maryland and a husband and wife. He is a professor of journalism and she is a television producer. They give me their card but I seem to have lost it. I decide to have a few bites of pizza and garlic bread until Almantas arrives. And it is superb! Almantas arrives and I introduce him to everyone. But he already knows the tv producer. Thank everyone and make my departure. Our "taxi driver" is Robert, Almantas' brother. We soon arrive at our destination. Two other guests, Herkus Kuncius and Sigute Trimakaite-Kunciene, have also just arrived. Robert departs and I am introduced to Herkus and Sigute. He is a journalist and big Henry Miller fan; she is a soprano. Svajone and Paulius Stanikas have prepared a wonderful dinner for us. They have a wonderful apartment; it is where Bill Levy stayed last September. It's a great evening. We have homemade wine and superb crepes. We even get to hear Sigute via a television program. She invites me to her concert, but it is next Saturday and I will be in Warsaw. Svajone and Paulius are busy preparing for an exhibition in Oslo. Very late and very full, Almantas and I depart. Very late continue to read THE CONTINUAL PILGRIMAGE. The chapter about Harry Matthews.

Wednesday, 13th: As soon as I awake, I call Donata and we agree to meet in front of the Astoria at 2pm. Call Almantas and chat with his wonderful mother, Stella. Almantas and I agree to meet at the university at 9.45, so I can hear his lecture. After breakfast, walk the short distance to the university. Almantas soon appears and we go up to a lecture room. There are about 18 students: six from Galway, six from Brighton, and six from Vilnius. All are participating in a conference. Almantas gives them a flying history of Lithuania in an hour. I am familar with a lot of it because of his father's book and because of James Michener's great novel, POLAND. Afterwards we go upstairs to the English Department for coffee and I meet the director. Alas I cannot remember his name. Also meet another professor. Her name is Vitalija Spokiene and she is the organizer of the conference. Almantas and I walk back to the cafe next to the Astoria Hotel and have lunch. He goes home and I await Donata. She arrives and looks wonderful. We go for a drink nearby and talk and talk and talk. Later we walk to the park near the cathedral square. More talk. Some of the students who attended the lecture this morning stroll pass and we chat with them. Donata knows one of them. I tell the students from Galway that I was once invited to lecture at Trinty College in Dublin, but then was dis-invited and never learned why. They say they will invite me to Galway. Later walk Donata to a bus stop. She departs for her acting classes. Return to the hotel for a brief rest, then go to Stella's for dinner. Meet their house guest, Knut Christensen, from Frederikssund near Copengahen. He has driven to Vilnius with a truck load of medical supplies. Robert and Almantas also dine with us. Of course it is wonderful! Stella is a great cook. Stashu calls and we agree to meet later at the jazz club next door. I can even hear the music through the walls as we talk. I suspect that I will not stay in the jazz club very long. Nevertheless thank Stella and Almantas and head for next door. Just as I arrive I find Stashu leaving. He and three friends, (Litza Ansell, Shane Snipes and a fellow from Lithuania whose name I do not catch), have decided they do not want to listen to the jazz and have decided instead to visit their friend, John Phillips, who lives just around the corner. They ask me to join them. John is a linguistics scholar who has lived all over the world and currently teaches in Vilnius. Shane is a Fullbright scholar from North Carolina living and studying in Kaunas. Litza is teaching English in Vilnius, but on her way to Budapest. I promise to send her some contacts there. It's a fun end to the evening. We all depart about midnight.

Thursday, 14th: Call Donata at 8am as agreed and no one answers. Call Lolita and she will come to the hotel at noon for another lunch date. Call Margarita Juzoniene and we agree to meet at the hotel about 5pm. After my breakfast, stroll slowly to the Central Post Office where I have a 10am meeting with Gediminas. While waiting for him to arrive, I read the last chapter of THE CONTINUAL PILGRIMAGE about the Beat Hotel in Paris. Gediminas arrives and we go to his bank nearby and I arrange to collect $500 with my Visa card and to cash $900 in American Express traveller's cheques. He drives me back to the Astoria and gives me three packages of Ted's honey spoon and I give him dollars to begin the printing. Wait for Lolita to arrive. Get a call from the front desk. A woman named Irena is downstairs and wants to give me a letter to take to her husband in Paris. I go down and meet her. Irena is wonderful! I remember talking to her on the telephone when I attempted to leave a message for Andrew and Gadi and Edward Lucas. Irena and I are still chatting when Lolita arrives. Introduce them to each other and they seem to get along beautifully. Irena is a translator from English and Lolita says she might have a book or two for her soon. I invite them both for lunch, but Irena has to decline. Lolita and I decide to have lunch in the hotel restaurant. It's excellent. The beautiful waitress is the same from last September. Lolita and I make a number of plans regarding the Peter van Straaten book and I promise to send her books and addresses from Paris as soon as I am home. She departs and I go to my room to rest. Also have a shave, shower and shampoo. Feel wonderful and wonder how I shall spend my last evening in Vilnius. Lie in bed and ponder. Suddenly remember reading there is a LOT flight to Warsaw this evening. Look at the schedule and realize it departs at 6pm. Can I make the flight in an hour? Why not give it a try. Quickly pack. Rush downstairs and tell the nice fellow at the desk that I will attempt to make the 6pm flight. He does not think it can be done. Quickly collect ticket and other valuables from the hotel safe, pay the bill, leave books for Stashu and for Margarita, order a taxi and am on my way. The weather has suddenly turned nasty; maybe this is a major mistake. It looks like a storm is brewing. Driver quickly gets me to the air port. Give him a big tip. At least he is happy about my decision. Quickly check the two bags, clear customs and find myself with time to spare. Outside the rain begins to fall and dark clouds appear overhead. Only bright spot is a pretty red-head and she seems to be with someone. Our flight is called and I realize that I will not be seeing Margaret tomorrow morning. As we board the plane, the rain stops and the sun re-appears. The flight is delightful. Excellent dinner. LOT is getting it's act together. We arrive at 6pm, having gained an hour. Quickly collect the two bags, clear customs, and decide to take the air port bus into town. To hell with paying taxi fares. But just as I walk outside, the bus is pulling out. Shit. About 20 minutes later, board the bus and I am the only passenger. Ride to the Forum Hotel, jump out, check my two bags. Then walk to Stash Pruszynski's Ejlat restaurant and call Robert and Barbara. Get their answering machine. I sit and dine alone. It's superb! Later Stash arrives and we catch each other up to date. We go next door to his other restaurant, Klub Aktora, and there is a his beautiful daughter, Elsbieta. Get a warm welcome from her. There is also a photo of Jane Alexander framed and hanging on the wall surrounded by lots of other photographs of Polish actors and actresses. Stash thanks me for my asking Jane to send her photograph to him. The three of us attended Edinburgh University a few years ago. (OK, many years ago.) The waitresses are extremely beautiful. One, Monika, is a Julie Christie look-alike. Edyta is a very sweet blonde. Use the telephone in Stash's office and manage to get Almantas and he is surprised to learn that I am in Warsaw. I ask him to call Donata and tell her that I have left. She had mentioned that she wished to go to the air port to see me off. I also ask him to call Margarita and apologize for my departing so suddenly. I also call Paris, learn the weather is cold, the atelier is being cleaned and there is no need for me to rush to Paris. Stash and I go next door to Ejlat and join two old friends of his from Toronto, Barbara and Andre Jordan. Barbara is teaching at the University of Warsaw and Andre seems to be Vice President of a construction company. At the table next to us are two fellows and a lovely woman. She is from South Carolina. One of the fellows attended Tulane University. They seem to have something to do at the American Embassy. I want to ask the woman from South Carolina if she might know Bobo Legendre, but I don't. I keep trying to call Robert and Barbara and finally very late succeed in getting them. Before I depart, Barbara Jordan gives me two poems she has written. Stash calls a taxi for me and I quickly pass the Forum Hotel, collect my bags, and continue to ulica Dobra. When I arrive, the two of them begin to tell me about the fabulous party I missed this evening. It seems that Smirnov Vodka threw the party of the century to launch their presence in Poland. Damn it. If I had called from the air port, I would have been able to attend it. They left about 7pm for the party. Oh shit. But I would not have met Stash's friends. Read Barbara's two lovely poems before going to sleep.

Friday, 15th: Up at 8am. Shave, wash, dress. Try to call Stash because I said that I would pass for breakfast this morning. No luck. Still cannot make up my mind: to go to Paris today or tomorrow. That is the question. It's a warm lovely day in Warsaw and I remember someone in my atelier saying it was cold in Paris. Take the 350 bus to The British Institute. No ticket, so take my chances. Arrive successfully and greet the two lovely Anya's. Tea with the beautiful Hanna Sobieraj. Her two daughters, Karolina and Joanna, are 20 and 18. Time flies when you are having fun! Krzysztof rushes in and rushes out. He has a meeting with the new director. Hanna tells me their neighbor is in Paris trying to make it as a fashion model. Would I please call Magda Radalowicz and look after her? Of course! Try to get Witek on the telephone, but he is in a meeting. Call Pawel Brodowski and he is not free until tonight. He can dine with me at 8pm. I call Maria Maj at the theatre Buffo and she says come over immediately, that she and Grazyna Wolszczak are waiting for me. Tell her I will be there in 30 minutes. Attempt to reach Ryszard Kapuscinski but no luck. Thank Hanna and walk to the Central Station to check on Paris departures. Don't get the same information that I got in Berlin. There I was told 15.15 and in Warsaw the wall chart says 16.30. Who is correct? Look for a Ruch to purchase bus tickets, but do not see one. But do spot the 350 bus. Jump on it to go to Buffo theatre. And, of course, three controllers demand my ticket. When they learn I do not have one, they want 250,000 zlotys (about $12.50). No mercy as I attempt to explain in English that I could not find a Ruch. They keep demanding in Polish their money. I pay. Get no receipt. I suppose they will drink on me tonight. Lucky them. Walk the short distance to Buffo and find Maria and Grazyna. They are as lovely as ever. But busy until 3pm, Excuse myself and walk to Klub Aktora. Stash is there. I tell him that I attempted to telephone him but could not get his phone to answer. He replies that all the phones in his building were out of order all morning. The three waitresses are as lovely as those from last night. Stash gets a call and he must rush to the French Embassy to collect his wonderful daughter, Elsbieta. I sit quietly and have barszch, pierogi z miesem, and placek orzechowy (a Danish nut cake). Plus my favorite sok. Stash and Elsbieta arrive. I begin a long letter to Jane Alexander and Stash adds some words. Then make a quick call to Jack and he says there is no need for me to be home before Sunday morning. I decide to go for a walk to Andrzej Blikle's new cafe in Novy Swiat. There is a fashion show taking place outside a woman's dress shop that demands my attention. This IS the new Poland. Lovely young girls walking up and down Novy Swiat to the sound of rock music. I stand a long time watching them. They are so lovely! My god Polish women are beautiful! They certainly have something. Reluctantly leave them and walk to Hoffland. Attempt to purchase a new suit, but they do not have my size. Walk to The British Institute and spend a long time with Hanna and Krzysztof. Hanna calls the Central Station and the afternoon train to Paris is now only on Monday, Wednesday and Sunday. I ask her to ask about trains to Berlin. There is a 23.50 tonight. Ok, I will dine with Pawel, then take the train to Berlin. Call Pawel and we agree to meet at 8pm at the Klub Aktora. Goodbye to the wonderful H & K. Walk slowly to ulica Dobra via Novy Swiat and the Old Town. See one of the models from the afternoon show, but only smile a warm greeting. She has no idea why. When I arrive at Robert and Barbara's apartment, they are not at home. Then I remember that Barbara invited me earlier to a vernissage for a group of painters from Krakov. But I forgot to take the address of the gallery. Damn. Rest briefly. Then decide to take my bags to my meeting with Pawel. Write a thank you note and leave the keys. Just as I exit the building, the 350 bus is pulling out. The driver stops long enough for me to jump aboard. This time I have tickets. Jump out near Klub Aktora and await Pawel. Sit with Elsbieta and a pal of her's from Warsaw. Pawel arrives and we have a feast. Stash departs and says he will see us later. Barbara and Andre Jordan arrive with some friends and I tell her that I enjoyed her two poems, especially the one entitled "A Farewell". It made me think of my dear friend, Sally Belfrage. She is pleased I read and enjoyed her poetry. Pawel and I talk about the "good old days", all our friends, etc etc. He is a bit sad that the "Jazz Jamborie" has lost its punch. He is such a lovely person. A joy to be with. When it comes time to pay, the waitress says that Stash left instructions that I was not to pay. Nevertheless I treat Pawel. He suggests we go briefly to a jazz club before getting my train. The place is excellent. We enter at the same time as two fellows and an attractive woman. Pawel goes to talk with the band. I talk with Igor Laskowski, Malgosia, and Pawel. The men are studying medicine and Gosia is studying law. I also briefly chat with a pretty blonde who only speaks Polish and Spanish. She used to live in Caracas. She is surprised when I also speak Spanish with her and tell her that I, too, used to live in Venezuela. Then it is time to collect my bags from Klub Aktora and head for the Central Station. Pawel says that he has enjoyed the evening with me. I certainly have as well. In the station we go upstairs and manage to reserve a seat. Then we purchase two poppy-seed pastries and two bottles of my favorite sok. Pawel goes down to the platform with me and waits until I am aboard and the train is on its way.

Saturday, 16th: Arrive in an old East Berlin station at 7am. It was a fairly painless trip. But it is not painless to get to Zoo Station. There is work on the U-bahn line and we are forced to exit, ride a bus two stops, and get back on the U-bahn. This takes almost two hours. All the announcements are in German and I cannot follow exactly what must be done. Even the locals seem to be as confused as I am. I help a young couple from Melbourne who are even more lost than I am. When we arrive I go downstairs and contemplate calling Norma. But it is only 9am and I suspect she is still asleep. While standing at the traffic light, I happen to glance to my left and, lo and behold, Ryszard Kapuscinski is next to me. We recognize each other at the same moment. He missed his morning train to Warsaw because of the work on the U-bahn. He is on his way to get another reservation for tomorrow morning. We walk together. What a pleasant surprise! He has a DAAD fellowship and has been in Berlin since January. We learn that my train departs for Koln at 10.49 and that I change to another train and will arrive in Paris about 2210. (Later I learn that I could have taken the train from the Hauptbahnhof, but I would not have met Ryszard.) We check my two bags and walk to the Kant cafe nearby and have morning coffee and a good long talk. He is one of my favorite writers. R reminds me of Henry Miller; they both have a simple humanism and love of life. His new book on Russia has been translated into 16 languages. R is a star and he is confused by all the media attention he is getting. The book will be published in English by Sonny Mehta (Knopf) in New York and by Bill Buford (Granta) in London. I wonder if I can get an advanced copy from either of them. Then in October it will be published in Paris and R has promised Nabokov that he will come to Paris to help with the launching. He says that he will call me when he arrives in Paris. He plans to attend the Frankfurt Book Fair in October. We talk about the DAAD program; it has been drastly reduced. Only five writers in Berlin at the moment. One is Breyten Breytenback. I ask R.K. to pass my greetings to Breyten. I tell R.K. that I organized Breyten's first exhibition in my old bookshop gallery in 1960 in Edinburgh. We talk about Russia, Poland and Lithuania and my People to People series. I also promise to send my edition of WORKERS that was recently published in St.Petersburg. Soon it is time for me to be on my way. R.K. walks with me back to Zoo Station even though I tell him not to bother. We embrace and say our farewells. It's so funny to meet him like this on a Berlin street corner. He departs and I head up to the platform. Now perhaps I can call Norma, but I cannot find her telephone number. Then the train arrives. Packed, but I manage to find a seat. Read an article about the Russian mafia, then have to move to another compartment. Share it with five women. Two are very sweet and they are friends. The sweethearts exit in Bielefeld. Give them invitations to the Sunday dinners. We arrive in Koln and I change to another train. This one is almost empty. Continue to read The Best American Essays 1993. I love essays. Talk briefly with a fellow who teaches German-language in Namur. And suddenly we are pulling into Paris. I call A2, Jack answers and I tell him that I will be home in about 30 minutes. Take the RER to Denfert and walk down the Avenue Rene Coty, pass the lights chez Susi Wyss, up Tombe Issoire. Home, sweet home. The atelier is shining. Jack, Peter and Tom have been cleaning since my departure. Much post. Sweet note from Jamie Byng with the new Canongate Spring and Summer 1994 list. It states my People to People: Russia book will be published in June. I hope this is accurate information. Jamie has also sent me MOVE UP, JOHN by Fionn MacColla. I produced his play, "Ane Tryall of Heretiks" in my bookshop during the 1962 Edinburgh Festival. There is a letter from Mary Guggenheim to ask about her novel I am publishing and a copy of "Hot News" from Lyle Stuart. Jack shouts that dinner is on the table. Go down for a feast. He announces that the hot water heater is out of order, no hot water until Monday morning. Jack also announces that Layne Jackson's friend, Tillie Katz, has called and booked about 15 places for Sunday dinner. They are all from Austin, Texas. He suggests that I might call Susannah; she might know some of them. Jack also said that Magda telephoned earlier and that he told her I would be home tonight. She said that she will call again, but no call comes. Dinner is delicious. Seamas, Peter, Tom, and a semi-drunk friend of Jack's whose name I do not catch dine. The drunk fellow almost ruins my home-coming. I do not know why I have so little patience with drunks. Everyone goes out except Peter and myself. I go up to my room and re-read all the mail that has arrived. Kwang-Soo Ma has sent me a book. His paintings. There is a wonderful letter from Roxane Bicleanu in Australia. She has a job! And there is a sweet letter from Lech & Barbara Budrecki in Warsaw. And suddenly I realize that I did not call or see them during my rushed trip. I sit down and write them a long letter. I call Laetitia and we have a nice chat. Then sleep in my bed between clean sheets. Alone. Ugh!

Sunday, 17th: Up at 9am and make coffee. A fax from Samantha Stenzel arrived during the night; she arrives next Thursday. In theory, so does Nathalie from St.Petersburg. Call Susannah and leave a message on her machine regarding the invasion from Austin tonight. Dr. Bruno Sauron calls to seek contacts in Washington, D.C. for next month. Jody Kleinberg calls to say she would like to come tonight. Maybe she will bring her beautiful girlfriend, Sylvie. Jody also wants to talk with me about her short stories. Go to the wine shop and purchase 15 liters of red and 5 liters of white. Also borrow 1,000 francs until Monday. Peter carries the wine home and I go to Alesia for the London newspapers. Back at home and the telephone doesn't stop ringing. All Paris wishes to dine here tonight. Diane Tammes calls; she and I met in Edinburgh via Norma Moriceau. She will come to dinner with Sophie Kennedy Martin. A fellow called Simon Richmond calls to say he departs tomorrow for Poland, the Baltics, and Russia and would it be possible to see me today or tomorrow. I suggest he come over straight away. Norma calls from Berlin to say she is angry with me because I did not stop to see her on my way back. She also says that she will depart Berlin soon for London. I tell her that Diane Tammes called and will dine here tonight. Then Simon arrives and we have a long talk about his forthcoming trip. Give him lots of addresses and tips. Also give him TFC and POLAND. Jack, Peter, Tom are busy with tonight's dinner downstairs. David Brandon calls from D.C.; he just had a call from Dr. Bruno and has agreed to host him. David talks with Jack and me; he says he might fly over soon to visit. I tell him that I will visit him next September. Get a call from a fellow from Croatia; he is in Paris and needs help with a visa to Britain in order to visit his family. I tell him I have no connections in the consulate in Paris, but that he is welcome to come to dinner. Magda calls and I ask her why she didn't call me last night. We agree to meet on Tuesday evening. I fire up the computer and begin this 300th newsletter. Jack boils some water, so I can wash and shave. Sharon Shuteran's sister, Stephanie Houston, calls to report that she and Amber are back in Paris. They had a great trip and wish to take me to dinner next week. I suggest they come here tonight, but they are too tired. We agree to dine tomorrow night. The hour for the "hungry horde" rapidly approaches. And by 8pm, we are ready. It is one of Jack's best efforts. A wonderful chicken and asperagus, green beans and tomatos, sauteed potatos, cake and fresh strawberries with whipped cream. Jody is one of the first to arrive and she reports she enjoys the theatrical spectacle of the final minutes before everyone arrives. I know what she means. It is exciting. We are about 90 tonight. The usual: Martin Lehberger, David Turner, Laura & Ted Joans, Seamas, and the wonderful Michele. Didier Nurit brings Connie Bradburn's au-pair, a beautiful young woman from Portugal called Madelaine. It's another successful dinner party.

Monday, 18th: Wonderful Peter Uhlenberg has done the dishes. Make coffee for the two of us. We discuss the madness of war. Why do people kill each other when they could embrace one another instead? Gabriel, our plumber, arrives and within a few minutes we have the miracle of unlimited hot water. Hooray! Ted Joans arrives to exchange dollars for francs. He flies to NYC the 26th to attend a "Beat Generation" conference. Give him 1,500 francs in coins to take to the Village Voice bookshop. Alex Stefanovic calls from Milano and I wish him "Happy Birthday!" (to be continued)

 
Jim Haynes
April 1994

 

 

 

Atelier A-2,
83 rue de la tombe Issoire,
75014 Paris

 

 

 

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