I'm very, very happy to read Steve Tills
writing about the poet Jim McCrary, for I have a tremendous admiration for McCrary's work upon discovering it in First Intensity
a couple of years ago. I've since googled his name and read everything I could find of McCrary online: a tremendous pleasure.
there is often a question of whether a writer has any influence on an individual, say his/her reading habits. the answer: hell yes. I read this review
by McCrary on Ed Wood, Jr.'s novel Death of a Transvestite
which made me seek out and buy the book. and yes, this novel is by that
Ed Wood, the infamous writer/director celebrated by Tim Burton a few years ago in a film titled simply Ed Wood
and so McCrary's essay on Wood leads me back to the enigma of the director/writer. Wood was a known cross-dresser. he loved pink angora sweaters, I gather from an oral biography I picked up last year in a used bookstore. I love this passage illuminating Wood's experience as a Marine in WWII:
We were both in the Marine corps,
he was in the invasion of Tarawa. 4000 Marines went in. . .400 came
out. He was wearing pink panties and a pink bra underneath his battle
fatigues. And he said to me, "Thank God Joe I got out, because I
wanted to be killed, I didn't want to be wounded, because I could never
explain my pink panties and pink bra." He said, "If I'm wounded, I'm
going to be in trouble, if I get killed, nobody gives a shit."
Nightmare of Ecstasy
, by Rudolph Grey (Feral House, 1992)
it is wonderful, that passage, full of humor and a deep, abiding humanity that seems mostly absent from our workaday world of commerce and politics. and I am pleased McCrary digs the artless beauty of Wood's work.