Thursday, May 26, 2011


Elaine’s, one of my favorite places in New York, is closing tonight. Elaine Kaufman, the longtime owner—and one of the best friends a writer could have—died a few months ago, and the joint just couldn’t manage without her.

One of the best nights of my life was spent at Elaine’s, in the company of writers old and young, at the wake held for W.C. Heinz, who wrote “Death of a Racehorse”—from which this blog’s name was lifted—among many other great things.

A few of us read “Death of a Racehorse” out loud to an audience that, had I been less drunk, would have made me shit my pants just by its having assembled. Later, five of us ended up at a round table together: Charles P. Pierce of Esquire and the Boston Globe; ESPN’s Wright Thompson and Jeff MacGregor; and Kevin Van Valkenburg of the Baltimore Sun.

It was one of those great, beautiful nights when we shared each other’s dreams and stories and company. I could never do justice to it.

Luckily, Kevin Van Valkenburg can. He’s done us the favor of writing about it, and allowing me to post his words here. My thanks to him for that.

Kevin’s a great man—a husband, a father, a writer, a traveler, a drinker, a reader, a romantic, and a beast. But mostly Kevin’s a dreamer. Of the five of us, I would bet that he’s the one most likely to have already been on the moon.

If this is your introduction to him, I hope you like what you read here. You’ve been missing out. If you know Kevin, well, then you already know what you’re in for: You’re in for grand company, which is what Elaine’s was all about, on our night there, on every night there, and now, tonight, with closing time coming down hard, and just enough time for one last wake.

Mr. Kevin Van Valkenburg, the floor, my friend, is yours:

Monday, May 16, 2011


I don’t know Drew Magary. I know his writing, mostly through Deadspin and Kissing Suzy Kolber. I can’t remember how I came to read an advance copy of his first novel, The Postmortal—I feel like he whored himself out to me, but I might have pestered him, because he’s one of those guys I’ve always wondered about, and not just in a metaphysical sense. Either way, it doesn't matter: The Postmortal is good. Really good. I’ve already attached myself to write the screenplay (I’m not sure if Drew knows this yet) for what will surely be a popular and critically acclaimed blockbuster about immortality, the meaning of life, and women with impossible bodies.

You can pre-order your very own copy here.

What’s weird for me about this particular Five for Writing—apart from its comparison of personal watercraft to breasts—is that I actually found it kind of unsettling. I’ll write more about this later, but I felt like Drew was speaking to me when he wrote what he wrote about guys who write on typewriters. I like to think writing is IMPORTANT, because it’s what I do. But maybe, when you strip it right down to its most basic elements, it’s just putting words in an entertaining order in exchange for money. Reading this made me wonder whether I’ve been squeezing the bat a little too hard lately.

Anyway, maybe a little more than usual, I’d like to thank Drew Magary for joining the Five for Writing circus. Despite the fact that he puts two spaces after every period—fixed—I really like what he wrote here, and what he wrote between the covers of his new book. I hope you do, too: