Four years ago I wrote a memoir called In the Hamptons, about my time writing, selling ads for, editing and publishing Dan’s Papers. This book was published by Random House in 2008, got a wonderful review in the New York Times and sold quite well. A second memoir followed in 2010. And now there is a third one just out, called Still in the Hamptons.
I need to explain this. Ever do the same thing over and over for, say, fifty years? You accumulate a lot of stories about it. Some you can, if you are a writer, put in a newspaper if you happen to have one. Other stories you can’t tell. At least not in public. Not because there is something wrong about them, or because they might hurt somebody but because they are just so behind the scenes, so wacko and so extraordinary, that, well, you tell them to your friends.
You lean back in a chair, put your hands behind your head and begin. Remember that time when the hurricane came through, all the power went out, we packed up all our computers into the newspaper vans and just headed west, looking for a house with the lights on inside?
Well, these were those stories. The thing is I never intended to write more than one volume of them. I wrote In the Hamptons, people liked it, and so when more of these stories came to mind, I wrote about THEM. Now, still more stories have come up. So I wrote Still in the Hamptons.
Considering how these came about, you could probably understand that these stories are not chronological in the usual sense. The first book is not In the Hamptons, the early years. The second is not In the Hamptons Too, the teenage years and the third just now hitting the bookstores is not Still in the Hamptons, the years of adulthood. Instead, each book on its own goes from the beginning to the present day. So, the first book goes from 1959 to 2008, the second starts in 1959 and goes to 2010 and the third goes from the start to 2012. Think of it as—with this latest book, you get four years more of stories than you did in the first book.
Another thing about these three books is that these are not articles that have appeared in the newspaper. They are ABOUT articles that have appeared in the paper, or things that did not appear in the paper. But they have never seen the light of day before.
In this third book, you will find stories that are about or include references to many people you either know or have heard of. Billy Joel, Kim Cattrall and Alec Baldwin come immediately to mind.
But there are more stories about some of the locals. You’ll read about radio personality Paul Sydney, newspaper publisher David Willmott, auctioneer Charlie Vanderveer, junkyard owner J. J. Johnson, documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles (in 1984) and Dennis Lynch (in 2010). There’s tales about the Artist-Writers baseball game, about photographer Peter Beard and about toy store owner Harry Lillywhite.
I hope you enjoy Still in the Hamptons as much as I enjoyed writing it. It will be available at all bookstores beginning July 20, online for Nook and Kindle then or soon thereafter, and the two earlier books are also available, the first in paperback and online and the second in hardcover and online.
Will I write a FOURTH memoir?
Well, I was thinking yesterday I have yet to write anything about the 30 of us who lived year around in a commune in East Quogue so many years ago. You didn’t know there was a commune in the Hamptons? Really?
And didn’t Winston Churchill write FIVE memoirs?
We expect there will be numerous readings of Still in the Hamptons. We’ve lined up one in the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts, another in Canio’s, another in New York City and there will be a whole host of Saturday morning readings at 11 am, mostly outdoors where events in the book take place. The schedule? Watch for it next week.