Philip Roth is staring at me. I feel him, watching each keystroke, assessing my body language, laughing when I sigh, silent when I laugh.
His face is shadowed, the dust jacket photo of an old man, much accomplished, critical of himself and those who claim to know him, know books, know how to criticize books. Inspiring? Hardly … no, yes it is. Someone has to continue to write, try to write good books.
The anxiety of influence, as Harold Bloom wrote. It has a bit of truth to it.
Asia has printed onto a sticky note, next to Roth’s mouth, where a cartoon speech balloon sits, words that Roth might speak: “How’s it going, Mark Thomas Beyer?”