AVAILABLE NOW!!! The Cary Grant Sanatorium and Playhouse - A disgraced Hollywood starlet, Donna Darling, and two-time German Army deserter, Séamus von Funck, meet in 1942 at an idyllic Ohio home for unwed mothers—or a Nazi abortion slaughterhouse, depending on whom you talk to. Their love endures despite the efforts of a power-hungry congressman, an overzealous religious tabloid, and Donna's Hollywood past. (Psst, it includes Cary Grant.) They prevail despite Séamus being a suspected Nazi spy and America's first prisoner of the second World War—and also the first to escape.

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About Me

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Will Tinkham has published six novels: THE CARY GRANT SANATORIUM AND PLAYHOUSE, THE GREAT AMERICAN SCRAPBOOK, THE ADVENTURES OF HANK FENN, BONUS MAN, NO HAPPIER STATE, and ALICE AND HER GRAND BELL. He lives and writes in Minneapolis, MN. His short fiction has been published on three continents and he long ago attended Bread Loaf on a scholarship. An actor of little renown, his credits do include the Guthrie Theater and Theatre in the Round. @WillTinkhamfictionist on Facebook

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

On Meeting Raymond Carver

[Wikipedia: Raymond Clevie Carver, Jr. (May 25, 1938 – August 2, 1988) was an American short story writer and poet. Carver is considered a major American writer of the late 20th century and also a major force in the revitalization of the short story in the 1980s.]

The University of North Dakota conducts a wonderful—free—writers' conference every March. Back in 1986 I attended because Raymond Carver was to be the featured writer. Carver had studied under John Gardner (see earlier post), so I figured I had a minor connection and, as much as I wanted to meet Carver, I was also curious as to any insights he might have regarding Gardner.

Carver didn't arrive till the final day of the conference because of his wife-to-be Tess Gallagher's health. We went to a few parties that evening that Carver wasn't likely to attend (he'd long since quit drinking) and we finally made it to an on-campus gathering—that we likely weren't invited to—much later than I'd hoped.

We entered some sort of faculty club and there was Carver, putting his coat on and looking anxious to leave. I approached him anyway (it was my only shot) and extended my hand. "Mr. Carver," I said and introduced myself. He reluctantly shook my hand and said he was waiting for his driver. I mentioned a Georgia Review article he had written about Gardner, shortly after Gardner's death four years earlier. Carver smiled like he was pleased I'd at least done my homework. I went on to mention meeting Gardner two weeks before his motorcycle accident and his accepting a story of mine for publication. Carver took off his coat and we began to talk. His driver came down and Carver told him to wait. We talked for ten minutes about his early writing days with Gardner and my experience at Bread Loaf.

Raymond Carver died in 1988. He is sorely missed as a writer and—as I found out for ten minutes—a good guy.


  1. Am getting the feeling there's a connection between you meeting these writers and their untimely deaths. Word is out that William Goldman and John Irving don't want to meet you.

    I know some writer folk who truly admire Mr. Carver's work. I'm glad you got to meet him and he was good enough to spend some time with you.

  2. Actually, Irving was supposed to be my reader at Bread Loaf but he backed out to be in the Garp movie. He doesn't know how lucky he is...

  3. Hi there! I followed you here from Query Tracker. I really love this story about Carver, and how he stopped to talk to you! Have you read "Cathedral"?

  4. Hi Rain! I was shocked to see a comment on such an old post (or any post, for that matter). "Cathedral"? Yes, certainly, I doubt there's anything he's written that I haven't read. Thanks for the comment and do stop by again.