Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Jim Causey and Bill Blackbeard-Part 2

A continuation of Jim Causey's letter to Randal Everts, in which the author describes his return to California after a foray into New York City during the late 1940s:

     Came home to the west coast after a year, bloody but unbowed. Bounced around at odd jobs, sold a little real estate, and when I got married in 1950 decided to get a steady job. Kept writing on the side, nothing sensational, sold a few stf and mystery shorts. A TV sale to Alfred Hitchcock from one of my Manhunt stories. Three original paperback mysteries to Gold Medal, Avon & Crest in the late fifties.

     Bill and I had stayed in touch over the years and he kept telling me I should shuck the job and go to Mexico and write full-time. I couldn't see it. Had a wife and two sons who liked to eat regularly. Besides, the paperback market was getting anemic and it bothered me. Even worse, in the parlance of the trade, I was a "bleeder." Eked out first drafts in longhand, retyped, and tortuously revised. Finally typed the final draft for submission -- provided everything went well. How I envied these guys who could hammer it out first draft and sold immediately with only minor revisions! I tried this a couple of times and back came my manuscripts with dull thuds. Could simply not sell first drafts. Besides, every time I even considered writing full-time, I would get an unexpected raise and a sudden promotion. Somebody up there somewhere was trying to tell me something. . . [Causey's ellipses]

     So Bill and I each continued to follow our divergent destinies. He was still the compleat [sic] collector. Typically, he would quarter in one of those ancient, rambling frame gothics that lend a kind of updated Arkham flavor to the lees of Los Angeles. Whenever his vast collection threatened to tilt the house on its foundations, Bill would have to move, dragging tons of pulp treasure with him. An inveterate stf buff, Bill knew just about every fellow fan in the area and was a familiar sight at most of the stf/fantasy conventions. They all know him and love him. He is not, incidentally, a violent hirsute fellow as his name portends. Prematurely bald since his late teens, he is freckled, affable and articulate. Since nineteen he has looked forty. He will probably look the same at seventy.

Continued in the next entry.

Weird Tales for January 1943, the issue in which James Causey's  first story for the magazine, "The Statue," was published. The cover art is by A.R. Tilburne.
Text and captions copyright 2011 Terence E. Hanley

No comments:

Post a Comment