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Inhale and Exhale! I said, “Bill, I know you have a very
low opinion of publishers, but if you think that I've
forgotten these stories that we fought over until blood
flowed, you're crazy. They were unpublishable stories six
months ago and I still think they are.” And he said, “There
are ten publishers who would do this.” He was by now famous.
I said, “I know you're right. Take them to one of them.”
So he took them to Harcourt, Brace and they published the
book. It was a complete failure. I was very pleased with
myself, and then he wrote The Human Comedy, which was a
Book-of-the-Month Club choice and a great hit! But we
Did he have a poor idea of publishers?
No. Bill was just a very cocky fellow. He thought
he knew everything. He was an Armenian, you know.
Do you think that he was just the kind of man who was
born with a gift to write? I mean, you told me about this
going to a play. There are not too many people who can feel
so confident. Did he just have a way with words?
He was a great story-teller. He had a great lore of
stories. I think that he overplayed it and I think his
recent work is very unfortunate. He's written a lot of
fourth-rate stuff. He doesn't take enough time. But he's
got great skill, and, as I said, incredible cockiness.
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