On the balance between admiration and friendship. A writer strikes up an email relationship with the author he most admires, Leonard Michaels:
In his work Lenny exhibited incisiveness, self-awareness, and control, and yet in life he sometimes appeared to me to be innocently childlike. He was often very emotionally candid. He talked freely and unguardedly about himself and about his friends and acquaintances. Though not trying to be mean-spirited or malicious, he could be indiscreet. Once, in conversation, he mentioned a friend, a man with a recognizable name, who had impregnated his much younger girlfriend to keep her from leaving him. I understood that Lenny had mentioned this in a flow of social feeling, not to sow gossip, only to remark upon a peculiar incident that he’d found illuminating and amusing. Still, the disclosure seemed at odds with the image I’d constructed of Lenny based on his work.