[Shepherd says he was one of the earliest writers for the Village Voice and for a time had his name on their masthead. (See my EYF! page 129 for some detail about how he began his association with the VV.) His writing mostly consisted of his column titled “Night People.” He comments that he wrote for The Realist, a Village-type of publication. His name is connected with three issues of The Realist, two of which appear to be Leigh Brown’s partial transcriptions of his radio broadcasts.]
[He relates that he did the Village section of an NBC TV program about New York at night. During his narration for this video he says, “I can’t imagine myself seriously living anyplace else.” ]
The Village is essentially a night area. By night, I mean during the daytime the Village is just another kind of a city. I love the Village. It’s a good place to live and I suspect, a hellish place to visit–quite the opposite of what most people think of New York. But I dig living down there for a number of reasons. Most of them only a resident could understand.
It’s one of the most historical parts of the city. For example, right off Sheridan Square is where Thomas Paine, the great revolutionary, wrote “The Crisis.” [He mentions Mark Twain, Henry James, and other literary people.]
And people who made the Village a bohemian hangout in the 20s were people like Edna Vincent Millay. A lot of people think that they’d love to live in the Village. They get the Village bug–it’s the kind of thing to do. [Here Shepherd begins to offhandedly criticize what would represent a fair portion of his young listeners. Cut ’em a bit of slack, Shep.]
When I was in my 20s-40- I’d go to the Village sometimes one night a week, not as a bohemian, but to see some avant garde and foreign films and have coffee at Reggio’s.
End of Part 3 of 3
Recently I came upon a major New York Times article in their special “Science Times” section. Titled “Dickinson’s Inspirations Grow Anew,” it describes how her home in Amherst, Massachusetts, now the Emily Dickinson Museum, is unearthing and replanting the gardens that inspired some of her poetry:
Some keep the Sabbath going to Church—
I keep it staying at Home—
With a Bobolink for a Chorister—
And an Orchard for a Dome
How delightful to be able to have and to hold some flower that inspired her—or have in a glass bell jar, a stuffed Bobolink.
Regarding non-literary items, to have and to hold:
Archimedes’ Eureka-moment bath towel
One of the bloodstained knives that stabbed Caesar
A relic of the True Cross
Newton’s apple (freeze-dried)
But better, some high marks from the world of literature and the visual artsys:
A Whitman first edition with, in it as a bookmark, a plucked-by-Walt leaf of grass
One of Picasso’s paint-clogged brushes
Faulkner’s empty booze bottle
A Norman Mailer boxing glove
One of David Foster Wallace’s balls (tennis)
From one of my literary heroes, the book Hemingway slammed into author Max Eastman’s face in their publisher’s office because Eastman had written an essay, “Bull in the Afternoon,” saying that Ernie’s literary hair-on-his-chest was phony.