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When I visited Gene down at Sea Island I really became
his friend. Up until then I was just one of the adoring public
that he knew from Liveright. I was a kid around there, you
know, who would hang around like a faithful little dog. But
this time I was becoming somebody, and Gene already was the
great American playwright. We took long walks on the beach
down at Sea Island and became great friends.
Would you discuss literature or were you discussing his
plays or were you telling jokes or--?
Well, with either a playwright or a novelist, I would say
usually from 60 to 80 per cent of the time is spent talking
about that author's work. Obviously they love to talk about
themselves, and it's a publisher's business to let them. Also,
O'Neill fascinated me. This was the life I had chosen for myself,
so when he was talking about himself and his plays, I
was in heaven; so we got along very well.
Did you ever discuss any of them with him or help, perhaps
give him ideas?
Well, we talked at length about a project he never
finished. Already in his mind then was the Cycle of Seven Plays,
which was going to be the story of an American family going
through the generations, starting back in the Puritan Pilgrim
days back in New England and coming down to the present. Tracing
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