I thought my radar for such supplicants was by now fairly well developed, but I had never been confronted so directly as by this man Meiselman. After I put his somewhat smudgy manuscript in my own briefcase, he presents me with his business card. "Irwin Isaac Meiselman, Independent Scholar," it reads, and lists his address, 6327 N. Bell Avenue, Chicago, Il. 60645, in the lower left-hand corner and his phone number, 773-262-3444, in the lower right-hand corner.
"I'll be eager to know what you think about it," he says.
"I'll get back to you," I say, eager only to slip this Meiselman's company and get home.
"Take your time," he says. "If I don't hear from you in three or four days, I'll call you." He extends a small padded hand, more like a paw, for me to shake as he takes his leave.
When I returned to my apartment, I removed the manuscript from my briefcase, and placed it in the bottom of my already over-crowded inbox. So much, I thought, for Stanley Melvin Mitzenmacher, or whatever the hell his name is.
Five days later, a Wednesday, mid-morning, my best working hours, my phone rings.
"Hi, Ed, Irwin Isaac Meiselman here."
My name is Edward Kastell, the name under which I both write and live. When I was a kid, friends called me Eddy, but no one, now or then, has ever called me Ed. My wife doesn't call me Ed. I have never for a moment thought of myself as Ed. Why, suddenly, am I cut down to Ed and this Meiselman, a stranger, gets three full slightly preposterous names? Beware, I tell myself, three-named Jews.
"Hello," I say, trying to put as much formality in my voice as possible, "this is Edward Kastell. What can I do for you, Mr Meiselman?"
"I was just wondering, Ed, what you thought of my Scandinavian chapter."
"Haven't quite finished it, but I've found what I've read thus far full of interest." I hadn't of course read a word of it.
"Any chance for lunch today to give me your ideas about it."
"Afraid I'm booked for today, and the next few weeks are crowded ones for me," I say.
"OK," he says, "how's Tuesday, February 11? I can come to Evanston."
- The Legacy of John Maynard Keynes
- Was Crucifixion a Jewish Penalty?
- Sweet Crude
- Four New Poems
- Two New Poems
- My Five Husbands
- Spain (With Apologies to Auden)
- A Ballad of Bo-oz and Ruth
- The True Origins of the Royal Academy
- Three New Poems By Ruth Padel
- A Sequence of Seven Poems by Blake Morrison
- Annunciation: A new poem by Anthony Thwaite
- An Open Letter to Günter Grass
- Pauline Maria 1965-2008
- The New Intolerance
- Democracy in Danger: The Origins of European Technocracy
- New Poetry
- Spain and the Conquest of China
- New Poetry — Fred Agonistes