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Tuesday, 2 August 2005

John O'Hara II

Frank Wilson

Thanks for the Memories
1 August 2005
Dear Richard,
Thanks for getting in touch. The visit to Pottsville was one reason. The other was that I'm planning on revisiting past authors in my column from time to time.
I'm not surprised the students responded to O'Hara. He did capture the spirit of his time, some American essence, quite well.
Since you have visited my blog, I hope you'll start adding comments. I find a lot of people read it, but comparatively few comment. Which is too bad, because what I have to say only really exists to elicit comment. I want the blog to be like an 18th-century London coffee house, where readers can gather and sound off, thereby demonstraing to the knuckleheads that run Kinight-Ridder that people are actually interested in books and reading.
Please keep in touch.
My best,

1 August 2005

To: Frank Wilson, The Inquirer

I wondered why -- O'Hara? But then I read yr blog, and realised you had been visiting O'Hara country.
I did the pilgrimage -- sans blue plaques, you lucky dog -- many years ago, and got recruited to the late John O'Hara Society in the bargain. The head PR guy for After Six -- you see how long ago this was -- recruited me. This led to a reading -- and re-reading -- of the canon.
I suppose I now have one of the ten-best collections of O'Hara around. Whatever that's worth.
But I've always been interested in the author (arguably Pennsylvania's premier contemporary writer) -- have interviewed those who knew him -- and, yes, like others, have generally found him to be a drunken ass. Despite that, I was amongst a handful -- let's actually say spoonful -- to ever teach O'Hara at the university level. This at Johnson & Wales University, Providence, R.I., and, later, at Richmond University, London. Funny thing! The students actually bought in.
Anyway, thanks for the memories.
Richard Carreño