March 1997

Perhaps some use can be made of being on Internet, or being in touch with the whole world. A strange man, called Rainer Bolilke, who wrote to me from 35 Gartenstrasse in Neustadt, offering to leave me his entire fortune. Where Neustadt is I have no idea, but as his letter bore a Bulgarian stamp, I assumed it was in Bulgaria. My letter was returned to me, so either he is dead or I addressed my letter incorrectly, or the whole incident was a heartless hoax. Can anybody out there supply the answer to this mystery?

Mr. Purdy is described as the outlaw of American fiction, he lives in Brooklyn which is tantamount to being a member of an enclosed order, but I have established a frail connection with him. He sends me copies of each novel that he writes and recently I received an invitation to a play called Foment that he had written. I ran all the way to Greenwich Street Theatre. The drama concerns a religious cult and the members who fight one another for their leader's approval and affection. Within twenty-four hours television was showing the corpses of the men who had committed suicide as a gesture showing obedience to some religious fanatic.

I thought this was quite a coincidence but it is a phenomenon that occurs often in America. Quite ordinary people fall under the spell of some evangelist so easily that he feels provoked to test his power by persuading his members of his congregation to either to part with all of their money or their lives. Recently in Texas this happened in a town called Waco, and an interviewer questioned two devotees as to why they had joined the cult. They looked quite ordinary (they didn't even wear sandals) but said "Well, everything is so awful and he seemed to have something." The interviewer asked what they thought he had, not what was so awful which, it seemed to me, was the key question. By comparison with other countries, North America is so easy to live in (if you are white) that it is difficult to fathom what complaint can be leveled against it.

Unfortunately, in Mr. Purdy's play, I could not hear what the actor's said. This may have been because in old age I have grown slightly deaf, but it may have been that the training of the actors is at fault. In the days when I was only English, a girl came from Miami to London and stayed at the rooming house where I lived. I got to know her and she confessed that she had been to a drama school. On hearing this, I pounced forward to ask what she had been taught because I hold that you cannot teach acting. She said, "They taught me to be a candle burning in an empty room." I am happy to say that she was laughing when she said this but she meant it. All the members of the cast of Foment were burning candles in empty rooms. That is to say "inaudible" except for one very large man who I was told was a policeman. Everyone in America, whatever his profession, is secretly an actor because it is thought that the highest state that can be achieved is that of a movie star.

I must struggle on with selling the book Resident Alien in spite of my saying that gay fetuses must be aborted. My agent was shocked by my holding this opinion and told me that the social situation had improved. She mentioned that there was a lesbian character in Roseanne Barr's show. What a pitiful consolation! With all due respect to Miss Barr, whom I admire, I would regard the news that her show had become kinky as a sort of booby prize. I explained the persecution comes from within, but I do not think that I have said enough, so I will make a further attempt. This is difficult as I am aware that I must not use the shortest words for the longest things.

In a time gone by in England there was a woman named Dr. Marie Stokes. If she was living today she would be called a sexologist. Back then she was called a sex maniac. She wrote a book whose title was Married Love. In it she suggested that women can enjoy sex. The world was deeply shocked. One of her readers wrote to Dr. Stokes saying that her husband had suggested alternative methods at making love. What should she do? The doctor advised her to start divorce proceedings at once. I mention this incident only to show that the idea of alternative methods was deeply shocking even to a sex maniac who embraced sex so avidly and so openly that compared with her Dr. Westheimer would seem like a Sunday school teacher. These very acts, which shall be nameless, it is taken for granted that young pretty boys will perform. Do real people imagine these young men do not find them revolting. They perform them because they think, foolishly, that they will in doing so win the love of some great dark man. They do no such thing. In fact, they earn his contempt. Only when it turns out that there is no way of winning admiration by performing an ignoble act, do they give up and live alone. I have lived alone for about fifty years, and have become accustomed to it even to prefer it to any other way of life, but I would not say that it would suit anyone.

I am an abortion enthusiast. I have never been able to understand why anti-abortionist wish to be seen on television lying like porpoises on the pavement outside a clinic or something or other, when on the same program we are shown a garbage collector finding a baby five hours old in a paper bag in a dumpster. The truth is that there are too many of us for our own good, and anything short of murder should be considered as a means of reducing our numbers. We have long ago past the population size that Mr. Huxley considered it possible for the Earth to supportÉand we are managing Ébut only just.

This is as complete an answer that I can manage to give to anyone shocked by my suggestion that gay men should not be born. Lesbians do not present the same problem. They do not spend their days in public lavatories and their nights in dimly lit bars. They are exempt from persecution by their neighbors or by the police and by one another. We know from Ms. Solanis that they hate everybody and everything, and yet their way of living and loving seems to present no problems.
Let lesbians commence!

I am now beginning my book promotion tour of the American states. Wish me luck.

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from Dusty Answers (forthcoming), Mr. Crisp's final book.
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