|Photo credit: The Selby|
Melissa Sweazy is one of the most inspiring women I have met. She's a published writer, an amazing photographer and a bad-ass film maker. In fact, her short film John's Farm premieres at the L.A. Shorts Fest TODAY. Eeeek. Crazy, right?! We recently formed a writing tandem (it's a writing group for two) and I am so insanely excited to be working on my own writing and getting to learn from her! As Melissa was packing up to go to L.A., I asked her to contribute a piece to my Literary Style series! She tells us why she adores Tom Wolfe:
"I have discovered that for me, it is much more effective to arrive in any situation as a man from Mars than to try and fit in."
–Tom Wolfe when asked about The Suit
New York City, 1999. The plan was to be here, writing the Great American Novel. Instead, I am two years into a stint as a script reader/girl Friday in Los Angeles for a producer who makes me stave off her impending nervous breakdown by burning smudge sticks. But then I get the call. My mother, the fairy godmother. My father has to back out of a long planned trip to NYC and there are broadway tickets, dinner reservations, the Plaza! I don't remember the shows we saw, the restaurants where we dined. What I do remember is the gaspingly cold fall morning when I saw him. Perhaps more importantly, I saw The Suit. Three piece, exquisitely tailored, and white. (I am not so long gone from the South that I don't find this a little shocking) He moves down the Fifth Avenue sidewalk as a sea of black coats part around him. His head is not bent against the cold, but held high, likely to show off the matching fedora. If my memory is to be trusted, he has a motherfucking cane. I was too shy to stop him. What if I would be interrupting a ritual of his, some bizarre public service he performed for aspiring writers. Come to New York! See your literary idols look exactly like their book jackets as they pass you on the street! The man writes great, gorgeous, jazzy riffs on life and culture. But he dresses via scalpel. Razor sharp.
Thank you, Melissa!
Previously on Literary Style: Isaiah Berlin, Michael Cunningham, Zadie Smith, James Ellroy, Joan Didion (I & II), Simone de Beauvoir, Eudora Welty and Virginia Woolf (in a rented bathing suit).