The Towering and the Dead

By Penn, Sean | The Mailer Review, Fall 2008 | Go to article overview

The Towering and the Dead


Penn, Sean, The Mailer Review


THE LAST AND--AND CERTAINLY MOST significant time that I spent with Norman--was a few weeks before he passed. I was with Richard Stratton and Norris and John Buffalo at the Brooklyn pad. Over the last couple of nights, I've tried to close my eyes in a dark room and reconnect with those eyes of his that have been so discussed tonight and ask him what I should say here. In a voice from the cosmos, I heard his voice say, "Whatever it is Penn, write it on a Blackberry, that way you'll know when it says 'full field' it will be brief enough." Well, that's not really true but it is true in relationship to Norman, because he understood unpredictable women, and I was forced to write it on a Blackberry, due to some such unpredictable circumstances in the last twenty hours or so. So, here it is, a bit less than a "full field."

Norman Mailer had a deep and very personal respect for what was earned. The boxer, a warrior in the ring whose prowess comes only with years of lonely warfare with his own mind and heart, the early morning runs, foot work, trunk work, bag work, punishing years of sparring, and collecting a refinement of his instincts in the brutal competition of the game. …

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