Another word for provocateur: asshole.

You’ve done your market research and you’ve ended up with your great big pile of shit.

Holding your breath and breathing at the same time. That’s no way to live.

They expected nothing, which wasn’t enough, for which they were grateful.

Public servants selflessly dedicated to destroying as many lives as possible.

Were you a person of consequence?
Were you even a person?
Did you learn anything?
Was there still hope?
·
Nope, no, nyet, maybe.

The wind, always present, but only its effects visible.

Art isn’t of crucial importance, until it no longer exists.

That saying, it is what it is? This is what that is.

Because on some level you feel there’s something shameful in your weariness, you rest your head with a junkie’s furtive guilt.

A great artist and an excruciating bore.

I wonder if you could talk about some of your early influences. I’m thinking in particular of well-known influences.

Well, Dudley Fitts, of course… He was at Andover when I knew him, but I think all the schools had him at one time or another. Of course, he was getting pretty old at that point. His best days were probably behind him. He had some weird theory about transmuting base metals into gold.
And later, at Harvard…

Well, he came with me to Harvard. He followed me around there for a number of years.
You’ve written movingly of your falling-out.

There came a time—inevitably, I suppose—when I felt I had to repudiate his influence. Remember, this was Harvard in the sixties; I was taking a lot of mind-altering drugs, appearing with my friends on David Susskind and so forth, and eventually he became an embarrassment. 
Still, I’m not proud of it; still haven’t quite forgiven myself. I’m working on that. I’ve given myself permission to forgive myself.
To this day, I find myself thinking, “What would Dudley do in this situation?” Or, “What would Dudley think of this?” I try to find myself worthy of his memory. In a way, I guess he’s become my Beatrice—him and Beatrix Potter.
You dangled him by the ankles from your tenth floor window.
That is absolutely not true! Cal Lowell did that. (Shudders) You could always tell when Cal was “going off” — that ghastly smile of his, glasses all steamy…
OK — so I was in the room when it happened…
OK, OK —so I held one of his ankles. But it was Cal’s idea. That was a summer! I’m afraid we all went a little crazy.

I was feeling pretty shit. Like I had cancer and didn’t know it, or was about to lose my mind. Ever feel that way? Like you have cancer, and don’t know it, or are about to lose your mind? And I couldn’t get that song out of my head.

His audience had demonstrated a bottomless need for his bottomless need of their bottomless need.

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