Good Writing

I’m reading essays by journalist, Pete Hamill, a favorite writer of mine.  If I had picked up, Piecework, earlier, it would have led my latest reading list.

Compiled in 1996, I recall reading this collection then, but his writing has stayed so fresh, they seem new to me, like a city you go back to years later as if seeing it for the first time.

Pete’s a treasure alright, one of our last, fine New York newsmen in the wake of Jimmy Cannon, Murray Kempton and Jimmy Breslin, to just name a few.

One thinks of him as walking history, able to tell you first-hand about Vietnam, Watergate, and the night in June, 1968, when Bobby Kennedy was gunned down.

There’s also a slew of bios…Bob Fosse, Mike Tyson, Jackie Gleason and JFK.

But my favorite of all, is the one on Frank Sinatra that must have inspired his later book, Why Sinatra Matters (2009).

Frank calls him to meet him at Jilly’s, a honky-tonk bar his friend, Jilly Rizzo, owns. They’re watching a game in the back room when Pete enters. There are pretty women sprinkled around, like confetti, while the jukebox mewls a tune.

After an hour or so, Frank and Pete, and Frank’s date, a quiet blonde, climb into a limousine.

Right before, a woman asks Frank for his autograph he graciously gives.

“What do you think they do with those autographs?” he said. “Sell them? To Who? Trade them? For what? How does it go? Two Elvis Presleys for one Frank Sinatra? Two Frank Sinatras for one Paul McCartney? I don’t get it. I never did.”

Later on, after dropping the blonde off, walking her to her door, he said, “And women, I don’t know what the hell to make of them, do you?”

“Everyday I know less,” Pete answers.

“Maybe that’s what it’s all about,” Frank says, “Maybe all that happens is you get older, and you know less.”   

I’ll agree with that.


About Susannah Bianchi

I'm just a girl who likes to write slightly on slant. I've had a career in fashion, dabbled in film and to be honest, I don't like talking about myself. Now my posts are another matter so I will let them speak for themselves. My eBooks, A New York Diary, Model Behavior: Friends For Life and Notes From A Working Cat can be found on Thanks.
This entry was posted in Books, History, humanity, humor, music, New York City, Politics, words, writing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Good Writing

  1. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of him. Sounds interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. micklively says:

    Wise words.
    The more I learn, the less I think I want to know. I keep uncovering ugliness.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. skinnyuz2b says:

    I just added Piecework and Sinatra to my list of reads to get. Thanks again for great Christmas ideas.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That may be, but since I became so very honest, open, and direct…knowing less has been a lot of fun.

    Liked by 1 person

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