23. A FREE MAN. Los Angeles, CA: Sun & Moon, 1991. 5x7½" 360 pages. (F)
Offset, perfect-bound paperback. [Full-color cover art by Hans Schabus.]

“I wrote this book between 1981 and 1984 while I was living at 172 East 4th Street with Bernadette and all the children. Marie had started kindergarten and Sophia was in nursery school and Max was still at home. I’d put him in a backpack and we’d walk down Essex Street to Seward Park, where some of the novel takes place. I was casing it out. I spent as much time as possible writing. Bernadette was the director of The Poetry Project at St Mark’s Church. There were things happening every minute. We put the kids to sleep and I would work on this novel for a few hours. We took turns taking the kids to school, or sometimes we all went. I didn’t do much else except go to readings and work on this book. I read books about cops so I could understand my characters. On page one a character named Bette gets killed and Bernadette always said I was trying to get rid of her. That I was really killing her off before the book even began. This book is about cops and their wives but there are a million peripheral characters and the book is really about them. My unconscious was hard at work here, no doubt. There’s a blanket feeling in this book which mirrors my life in 1980. It was a challenge to keep on top of it with everything else happening. I didn’t dedicate it to anyone, which says something about where I was at in the late eighties.” (LW)


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