I never met Gore Vidal in person but our paths crossed via the written word. It was back in the glorious 70’s and I was just beginning to make the monumental effort to learn how to write.
My mentor Grant Taylor was a task master and a pain in the ass but he was a GREAT teacher. The best thing he ever told me stays with me to this day. “Anyone who can talk can write. Just pretend you are writing a letter and forget trying to imitate the New Yorker Magazine.” I was so enamored of their authors’ style but I was an artist, not a writer.
My first opportunity to write an article was the one and only woman’s issue for Screw Magazine. Al Goldstein’s tasteless weekly newspaper that had a big circulation because it was one of the first openly sex periodicals. To give Al credit, he fought important censorship battles but his taste was in his asshole. So I sat down to write “The Masculine Mystic.” I had everything in it including the kitchen sink. Al showed my piece to Gore Vidal and then told me what he said.
My statement about men's fear to show or see other men's genitals was because they were afraid to be compared and come up lacking. Meanwhile women had to accept “Split beaver” in every possible pose in our faces 24/7. Wide open displays of women’s vulvas were part of porn from the beginning, but no dicks for women to enjoy. Gore told Al that I was absolutely correct in my assessment. That one statement sent me soaring onto cloud 9. Since I really had something to say, maybe I could learn to write. As you see, I’m still at it.
So thank you Gore Vidal for sending me off onto my second career path. Give ‘em hell in heaven. No make that the vast Universe. I know we agreed on organized religions were the scourge of planet Earth.