The Syndicate of Eternal Friendship

After what seems like ages, I’ve started on the novel again. It wasn’t easy building up the required head of steam. As regular readers know, the discovery of the Leslie Van Gelder letters led me into a fairly long digression — attempting to recreate the evening we spent together in December, 1961 that led to our epistolary friendship.

So it was quite wonderful to open my mental door to the story again and find my characters waiting patiently for more fun to begin.

Writing the novel is really the most entertaining thing I do. I sit down at my desk and pretty soon it turns out I’m in New York City in 1923, waiting for Eddie Cantor to breeze through the speakeasy’s door with his entourage of flashy furcoat diamond girls and suffering sycophantic toadies. In the world of the Syndicate of Eternal Friendship anything can happen at any moment as long as it hangs together and is fun to read at the end.

The novel’s plot swirls around the colliding fortunes of three young freaks living in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury in the mid-1960s, and a family who live around the corner from them in 1927, nearly forty years before. It features a radio that may change the course of history; hippies sneaking around an old dark house on a wet and rainy night; the Girl In The Yellow Suede Coat, who some believe to be the most beautiful girl who ever lived, but whose looks disguise a brilliant mind, and Wilson C. Cooke, the ruthless millionaire determined to wrest his glittering prize from fate, no matter at what cost. It features Golden Gate Park on a glorious Sunday afternoon; the Jersey Palisades in freezing November rain, Union Square and Times Square. It stars Walrus Pemmican, Paulie Ratskiwatsky and Sylvie Potemkin, three young freaks destined for greatness in spite of themselves, and co-stars Cal Hancock, a brilliant engineer from Post Falls, Idaho trying to make it in a city that chews up farm kid idealists. And leave us never forget Cal’s irrepressible, irreplaceable, daughter Margaret, the teenaged reigning princess of Haight-Ashbury radio.

John Le Carre the Pondering Pig is not. He’s more like P.G. Wodehouse on acid.

I should stop talking about the novel and start writing the novel. Just wanted you all to know what I’m up to.

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7 thoughts on “The Syndicate of Eternal Friendship

  1. Oh, Mr. Pig!! I want to read the novel when it is all done. I found that reading it in snippets wasn’t working for me…but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t enjoying it like crazy! I’m glad you are over the empty spot.

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  2. About time you get back to work. I think they have medication now for senior ADD. Me? I prefer catnip.

    Pondering pigs and rabbit trails must seems to go together.

    But what do I know? I spend my days chasing mice and napping. Don’t wake me up ’til 1927, or 1965… whichever comes first.

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  3. Some people have been asking me why Clara Bow, the 1920s ‘It’ girl, illustrates this post. The answer is simple: that’s not Clara Bow. It’s actually Margaret Hancock, reigning princess of Haight-Ashbury radio, after she came home from her best friend Leona Wilderson’s makeup seminar, held in Leona’s bedroom.

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  4. Methinks Margaret’s folks would be a bit miffed if they saw their daughter made up like Clara Bow. They probably would have preferred the Pickford look.

    P.G. Wodehouse on acid? Can I be Jerome Kern? I

    ‘m still wondering what happened to Beatitude Tutman.

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  5. Last I heard from Beatitude Tutman, he was in the Dakar Doldrums searching for Walrus Pemmican.

    You’re right about Margaret’s parents, but what can you do with kids these days? If they want big circles under their eyes, on they come.

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  6. Can you put me on the list to be one of the first to buy a copy of this novel of yours? I can’t wait. Seriously. Seeing that I enjoy your writing about just any old thing, plus the fact that you’ll delve into San Francisco’s history and that my grandma grew up in the Haight of the 1920s – I always wonder what the area was like when she was a young girl – and that you’re also going to have Golden Gate park (practically my childhood backyard)… and an intriguing tale – well, I can’t wait.

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