Jim Haynes newsletters

Newsletter No. 52
Autobiography Published by Handshake
31st September 1982

Some weeks ago, just after my September arrival in Paris, the telephone rings and the voice announces herself: "My name is Anna Mitchell and I am a friend of Rex Pike and he suggested that I call you." Four books later and Anna is still here. I think she said earlier today that it is almost four weeks now. But as far as I am concerned, she can stay forever.

Somehow or other we began with Angelo Quattrocchi's 99 Flashes and after we had finished laying it out and pasting it up, I suggested that we might paste up a few pages of my "participatory autobiography" and less than one week later we had completed 400 pages and two volumes. The "twins" (as Paulabails them) are published. Tomorrow noon, if my printer keeps his word, he will deliver copies to me. Volume I (from 1933 - 1969) is tentatively called C'Est Ma Vie, Folks! and Volume II (from 1969 - 1982) is entitled Thanks for coming! (My atelier-mate, Dorota Janiszewska, suggested the volume I title, and Jaco Groot suggested the title for volume II.) Let me know what you think. Next Tuesday morning Martin Lehberger, Fershid Bharucha, and I will head for the Frankfurt Book Fair in the Fershidmobile. I will bring copies of the various Handshake books published and see what happens there. One British publisher has already expressed an interest in publishing my autobiography. But in the meantime, if any of you would like to read "the twins" (and any other Handshake title for that matter) simply write, enclose some cash, and forthwith books will be posted to you.

Careful readers will have noted that I said four books have been pasted up by Anna and yours truly The last book is entitled Now AfterTheseThings by Samuel Brecher. (It is subtitled: An Exercise in Autobiography.)

Atelier A2 is entering a new era: A.P. (After Paula). Yes, she has moved out to live on her own in a small flat in Les Halles. We will all miss her, but suspect she will pop in and out constantly. Anyway, she had better do so! Now we are five residents: Martin, Anna Mitchell, Dorota, Gordana Malesevic, and myself. As I write these words, we have four visitors from Edinburgh: Nina Hartley, Helen Elder, HattyNeill, Adrian. (Alas I don't know Adrian's family name* because he has flot filled in his guest registry form yet.) Cathy Scott stayed here a few days (via Dick Gregory). And the most wonderful farm-girl I have ever met in my life: Marjan Palman (from Holland) just left tonight. (My god, now I know why people like the country so much!) And a very sweet lady from Edinburgh, Ruth Addinall, stayed here one night on her way to the south of France. And Zoe Miller and Pudding Stewart also flashed by here on their way south. Another Edinburgher, Annie Rubienska, arrived tonight to visit (via Mary Fenton) - so the Edinburgh connection (as you can see) is as strong as ever. Vicky and Andrew Makowsky have been visiting Paris and A2 (and Anna Köhler is now in New York City since last Monday).

Bad News: Those of you who have been reading my newsletters over the years will have noticed that "bad news" rarely appears. I don't like to include it for many reasons. Basically I am an optimist and cannot relate very well to "bad news". But sometimes life forces us to deal with it, like it or not. I received a letter recently from a dear friend in Amsterdam, Henk Van de Putte, who reported that he recently had a stroke andwas paralyzed and not able to walk. One moment everything is OK; the next and your life is suddenly drastically changed. If any of you wish to send greetings and hugs to Henk, his address is P.O.B.1954, 1000 BZ Amsterdam. By the way, Henk, I read yesterday that a great deal of medical research seems to indicate a relationship between laughter and recovery. So if you can possibily laugh, do so. I am serious. The more one can laught at one's situation, the better it is.

I see that I am almost at the end of this page, but I think that I will make another 'reduced newsletter'. and therefore have another page of news for all of you out there. On the overside there is an article about Americans in the 14th arrondissement taken f rom a new guide, Guide du 14ème, published and edited by Gérard Courtois. It is excellent. Gérard recently interviewed me for film that was being made about the l4ème by Abraham Segal. The day of the shooting, Anna Mitchell, Martin Lehberger, Marjan Palman, and Ruth Addinall all happened to be here and sao were included. I plan to copy it via my Sony Betamax when it is transmitted by French TV. (But those of you who live in the l4ème or who love the 14ème, I highly recommend Gérard's book.

Publishing news : Jens Thorsen has translated Workers and it will be published in Denmark soon! Suzanne Brøgger has written a wonderful foreword (which she recently posted to me for my "autobiography", but which arrived too late for this first edition. But I plan to use it in the next edition. And any of you out there who wish to contribute some words, please send them to me soon.) Judith Malina will be signing (and reading from) her Handshake title: Poems of a Wandering Jewess at a new bookshop in Paris tomorrow night. It is called Village Voice librairie/café (6 rue Princesse, 6ème, 633-36-47) and it seems to be run by Odile Hellier, a delightful lady. They also produce the best BLT sandwiches and brownies I have ever eaten in Paris, made by a lovely lady called Susan from Seattle. (OK, I know that Cathy Sroufe and Maria Rankov can make great brownies too!) I hope to make a reading and signing party for my book, Everything Is!, sometime in the autumn. Meanwhile Ted Joans is scheduled to make a reading there from his Handshake, Duck Butter Poems. Check here or with Odile for dates and times. Ted is also helping me to publish a French language edition of his poems, with Jayne Cortez also included, sometime in November or early December. A new edition of Mike Zwerin's Broken Up and Dances is in the works (while Mike is busy (a) touring with the pop group, "Telephone" - produced by old friend Bob Ezrin- and (b) compleeting his autobiography for Quartet Books, London). Elaine J. Cohen is in Barcelona, street-singing and getting a band off the ground. And a new French-language edition of Sarah Bean's Rags and Jewels will be published before Xmas - in order to simplify your shopping and gift problems... Have I forgotten anything and do I stop this here and now? Let me say, continued until after Frankfurt!

Jack Henry.Moore is in Tokyo visiting the Sony Corporation, and I was able to transfer several thousand francs to him thanks to Hiroko Govaers, Michi Tanaka and Shuji Terayama. Michi and Shuji will be in Paris this month when Terayama and company will be performing "instructions aux domestiques" at the théâtre national de Chaillot (f rom the l9th to 31st). I love Shuji Terayama; he has written something for my "autobiography" but it has not been translated yet. I love Michi and Hiroko too! (Jack too!) Now Hiroko when are you going to translate Everything Is! into Japanese with an introduction by Terayama?

I have decided to slow down the Sunday "dinners". Project Eats was started three or four years ago to raise money to publish Sarah Bean's stories. The dinners have been a big success, thanks largely to Cathy Sroufe, Barbara Steinkeller, Sir Ali, and to all the wonderful cooks who have contributed their time, skill, and energy. The dinners are too important to stop completely, but I would like to limit them to twice monthly - at least for the time being. Cathy and I wish to launch something else. We are not sure yet what it will be; but maybe it will be something theatrical. Paula and I are talking about her doing a one-woman production based upon my book, More Romance, Less Romanticism. Martin Lehberger is talking about launching a Book Centre in Paris and I will want to help him in any way possible to make it a success.

My autumn teaching schedule is fixed: Monday afternoon and evening. This will be my l4th year with the University of Paris. Hooray! I love it! Vive la France! The university has been so good to me. I have had the freedom to be, to think, to write, to publish, to travel, and at the same time play "intellectual ping-pong" with delightful students for thirteen years! Lucky me! I owe a great debt to Bernard Cassen and to Pierre Dommergues who were responsible for my joining the university 13 years ago - but what seems like 15 minutes. Time flies so quickly. Before you know it, life is roaring along…

I should probably not open this can of worms here and now, but there has been a great deal of heated talk recently about "American Cultural Imperialism". An individual or a group of individuals produce information. Others react to it. They 'buy' it or they ignore it. And that is that. A lot of information seems to come out ofAmerica these days because American-English is the lingua franca of our time, just as French was in the l9th century, and who knows what it will be in the 21st century. So what does it matter?

More later,


Jim Haynes
31st September 1982

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




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