Lawrence Durrell

For all of you who have heroes you've longed to make contact with, this page is for you. Long ago, as a fledgling writer, I became enamored of Lawrence Durrell's books, and somehow got given his address in the south of France. It's a longish story, and it's included below. The point is, I wrote to him out of the blue, out of a red passion, and he responded. We became friends until he died in 1991. I used to travel to Sommieres, where he lived, and we'd sit in his favorite cafe and drink white wine all night and talk books and art.

Sound like heaven to you? It was heaven--but a weird sort, especially at first, since I couldn't believe he actually lived, LIVED, in the same world as you and I. I thought he was a character in a book!

Towards the end of his life, he very kindly, after I had burdened him with my stories, said to me: "You've got the new book in you."

I was terribly flattered, and then after life intervened again, I felt the burden. Maybe that's what wrecked my heart, but no matter. When I told him about my heart, he first said, "They'll call you mad and try to put you away," and then he put his hand on my heart and nodded in a kindly, knowing way. Now I've got my "father" looking over my shoulder...there's a lesson here, that heroes inspire, but they demand from you, too.

A real-life story of my time with the great writer, and suggestions for reading in his work.