"My work may be garbage but it's good garbage." Mickey Spillane
I have a few more things to say once I am fully awake. I slept 12 hours once I managed to collapse into bed. I slept myself out, I think. It’s been months since I had an episode this bad.
I sincerely thought that Jean had mended her old ways. When Richard was alive, he kept her on the straight and narrow. He was always one of the few people that Jean always listened to. I miss him.
You could not argue with Richard’s business sense. He knew too much about publishing, marketing, and all the ins and outs. When I first met Richard, he and Helene had decided to move to Virginia in search of a slower lifestyle. He had been the head of marketing at Doubleday. He taught me to write press releases, taught me about reps and jobbers, and how to talk to people in radio and televisioin to get interviews for the Donning/Starblaze authors. Over the thirty years that I knew Richard, he worked for publishers, large and small, and was at one point the central buyer for the Walden Books chain.
When Jean was working for Jeremy P. Tarcher Incorporated as their editor-in-chief (her last position with them before they were sold to Penguin Putnam), Shari Lewis used to say that Jean was a diamond in the rough and Richard agreed.
I smoke cigars. Richard and I used to sit on the front porch of my home and smoke them. Jean and Helene did not like us smoking them in the house. So we were always banished to the outdoors to smoke.
Seeing the full extent of the mistakes that Jean is making with Renebooks since Richard’s death bothers me greatly. But it is part of a pattern. I’ve written elsewhere about Jean’s patterns, but I was calling her ‘H’ for Hank.
In the past, if Jean was shaken up enough, she eventually pulled out of these irresponsible periods, but it is almost like dealing with an unmedicated manic depressive. Jean does not fit the usual pattern of the manic depressives because her cycle takes a couple of years to hit the point that she is at now.
At one point in the 1980s, Jean was the highest paid editor on the West Coast. And she blew it. She hit this point in her cycle (which used to frighten me) and the excesses caught up to her (as they always did) and she was fired. She continued to work for Jeremy freelance. Her brilliance as an editor could not be denied. Some of Jeremy Tarcher’s best books were the ones that Jean development edited, turning a collection of experts into fairly awesome writers with books that made the New York Times best seller lists.
But Jean’s mental instabilities (she promised me that she was in therapy and was going to stay there, but I begin to doubt it), always brought her and whatever company she was working for into problems and difficulties sooner or later.
With Richard gone, and the ship without the kind of rudder that Jean needs to stay on top of everything, she has let Renebooks slide into the mud.
I’m going to try to locate a phone number for her. I think she and Frankie are staying with Bill Mills until they find a place of their own.
Every time that she wore out her welcome in an area, she moved. Jean is getting too old to keep doing this. She’s ten years older than I am. She was the only older man I ever became involved with.
I need to think for a day and reassess what is happening and see what more can be done to rescue my own books and those of others. I don’t like the idea of going down with the ship and it is sinking.