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The Sun Interview

Paperback Writer: Interview With Ronald Kemp

Our reporter, Dusty Miller, writes, “Unless you’re trying to scratch out a living as an artist or have seen the contemporary collection at the state museum of art in Raleigh, or live in a treehouse in the hinterlands like a friend of mine, you’re undoubtedly aware that North Carolina is the state of the arts. Everyone’s heart of Thomas Wolfe, clogging, and handmade dulcimers, but how many people are aware that living a life of quiet anonymity in Raleigh is one of the nation’s literary porn kings, Ronald Kemp? The company he’s been working for recently folded, but that’s life, the life of an artist.”

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Communicating With Yourself

A friend comes to my home. She tells me that she is very mad, and her mouth forms a tense but full smile. Another conversation, the person tells me that he is feeling “good, real fine.” His eyes make no contact with mine, his brow is furrowed, his body appears stiff. At a party, a recent acquaintance says that she would like to get to know me better. Her arms and legs are crossed, and she is leaning away from me.

Back To The Front Page

For years, I spent an hour every morning with The New York Times. It wasn’t that different from repeating a mantra or concentrating on the breath. Stories, like thoughts, would come and go; in time, it dawned on me that “objectivity” was pure myth, since no two people, journalists included, see the same event in the same way. The line between reality and illusion became increasingly watery — there were demons and avenging angels everywhere, on the corners of Harlem and on the campus of Kent State; America was drowning in the shallows of its own dream. The writing on the wall said it all; who needed The Times?

On Confrontation

When I have a problem, I sometimes have difficulty owning up to it. It’s much easier to say, “He’s screwed up to get in my way like that,” or “How can they treat me that way?” And this only intensifies my problem. I alienate myself from others and at the same time allow my head (intellect) to separate itself from my guts (feelings).

Fiction

Most Of All, I Remember Steeplechase

First he insults me, tells me I’m not a human being. Well, I tell him — this frog, this polka-dotted frog — that I just can’t control myself in the face of spaghetti. Then this frog looks at me, very seriouslike, and intones: “You’re going to have a great revelation when you’re 62.”

*NOTE: Original copies of this issue are no longer available. Unbound, laser-printed copies will be provided for print orders.

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