Interestingly, he starved in Big Sur, too, claiming the ocean was peaceful, but there were always bills (however small). His meeting with Jack Kerouac was a disaster. Both men sat in silence, neither making any attempt to open a discussion. Big Sur affected them both. They experimented there, Kerouac still working in “streams,” Miller finding the quiet good but “endless.” A chance meeting at a bookstore led him to write “Opus Pistorum” for some guy who provided pornographic novels to Hollywood directors and producers. “Here, do what you want with it,” Miller told him when he finished the manuscript. The book is crude, filthy—everything the Hollywood elite wanted—but it’s also some of Miller’s best writing. It’s stripped of poetic description, essentially rough bones formed into a bed. It’s the work of a true writer throwing down something he doesn’t care about—but he can’t write trash. The subject can be trash, but not the writing itself. It’s a good book. Thanks for your article, Saxon. Nice piece.

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I did a poor imitation of Don Draper for 40 years before writing my first novel. I'm currently in the final stages of a children's book. Lucky me.

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