Irwin SHAW


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From Irwin's journal, December 28, 1939


Still not enough sleep, and irritable and looking for a drink to relax the nerves, like yesyterday. Maxwell, fron the New Yorker, to dinner. After a beer at Sardi's and a long walked with Maxell, who drinks only milk... I said I wanted to get away from Broklyn because staying in Brooklyn would mean drawing only from the inspiration of my youth, keep me a minor writer, caged by old experience, and I wanted to range over the whole country, all classes, the whole world..."


Went to Moss' for dinner. Driscolls there and Norman Corwin. A horrible evening. Moss full of more actor stories, how he was called for the Fifth Column and what Tone said, and what Billy Rose said, who is backing the show, said... And Estelle, getting more and more silly and nerve-wracking ever day, talking, talking, talking, in the gushy sentimental style of a young literary-minded girl, egged on by a fierce, defeated ego (I'm no good, but I must talk about myself all the time). Corwin the successful young genius playing the part... Did a wonderful take-off on Muni... Came late and went early, the droit du seigneur carried over today to the Artist, unpredictable, unchainable...

I had to go out after dinner and walk to get the ringing of the conversation our of my ears... walked down around Belllevue, very dark and terribly foreboding near the river, with a little dirty snow lying around it, and most of the lights out, and absolutely silent, as though you weren't in the city at all. And across form it, in a whole block of shops, three lit and open for business... the confectionery shop, the florist's, and the undertaker's, all living naturally and wholesomely off the hospital. Candy flowers and coffins for the sick.

We went to The Stork Club, where Odets has his breakfast, sat in more or less complete silence. Harold Clurman bubling on, yelling to attract attention, trying to woo his girl into bed... Talked about (Erich Maria) Remarque. Said he looked like a combination of Puck and Robespierre, playful and devilish. Said Katherine Hepburn ws an animated tennis racquet... We went home... I said I didn't think Harold was going to get the girl from Austria who's playing in MARGIN FOR ERROR. Marian didn't like the other girl who has wonderful teeth and an assured air. Marian hates all women who seem sure of themselves...

Went to bed at five, with the telephone wrapped in towels, but to no avail.... it woke us anyway...

Other things about Remarque. He told Harold Jews can't be great writers because they're too smart, they're born with libraries in their heads, they can never sit down and write what they want to say because they think: 'God, I can't say that. Somebody said it in a little book in the eighteenth century.' Remarque says he's not troubled by things like that, he's stupid, unread, fine for a writer. "Like many writer," I said, "he's making a virtue out of his shortcomings." "Like all writers," Odets said.

Remarque in love with Dietrich, but constantly fighting... "I have found out today that people can be lonely in pairs."

Odets stayed at the Stork Club with Winchell who was drunk."

From Irwin's journal, December 29-30, 1939

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