Author delves into New York City literary circle
In 1924, when Charlie Chaplin was in his prime and men wore top coats and hats, George Kirk, a bookseller in New York City and a group of seven other men came together to form the Kalem Club. Kirk, Everett McNeil, Arthur Leeds, James Morton, Fran...
In 1924, when Charlie Chaplin was in his prime and men wore top coats and hats, George Kirk, a bookseller in New York City and a group of seven other men came together to form the Kalem Club. Kirk, Everett McNeil, Arthur Leeds, James Morton, Frank Belknap Long, Rheinhart Kleiner, Samuel Loveman, and H.P. Lovecraft shared their love of reading, writing and friendship until 1927.
During this time, Lucille Dvorak, Kirk's fiancée, was the recipient of his letters (which were discovered by their daughters while cleaning out a closet in 1992, as they prepared Lucille for her entry into a nursing home).
Kirk wrote of his daily life and shared many honest and profound observations throughout the years.
At times, Kirk's daily accounts become mundane -- a fact that is not lost on him. After a lengthy entry about a long walk through the neighborhoods of New York, Kirk remarks to his wife-to-be "And I'm tired, and I know this is dull."
Other entries are brief and delightful ramblings -- such as Oct. 22. "Too many thin people are simple to let one say that simplicity makes them fat. And Jake Falstaff is not simple. Mrs. Lovecraft went to the hospital the night before last because of another breakdown. Upon which my comment is that I make none...RK is tied up with an Irish damsel at office whose hair I dislike."
Kirk's observations of people are at times witty and edgy.
"Had two dinner invitations today, noon and evening, and refused both; at one I feared a girl, at the other boredom."
Kirk cannot abide by bores and comments often on this dreaded trait in fellow humans.
Somehow, Kirk manages to come off as charming when he makes these statements -- as he does so with such innocent honesty and sans pretentiousness.
At times Kirk's daily thoughts are more poetic than rambling.
"A rainy day ... Have recently been drawn to the unpleasant habit of thinking. I thought of the long fight I had to gain master over what is called a soul. Now that I can say I have it, can command it at will, can caress it or damn it, I prefer to forget it."
Although Kirk regales his bride-to-be, Lucille with his daily literary adventures, he not only incorporates her into his life during their long distance courtship, but practically canonizes her. In one account he writes "For me (meeting you) was the beginning of life. Of and by myself I am as naught. When I love, and I never before have loved as I loved and love you, I am and she is (pardon the inversion please) beauty and love and life and joy and spring and even sorrow..."
Aside from Kirk's humorous, smart, edgy, droll, honest and oftentimes engaging commentaries, the book also includes many works of the members of the Kalem Club -- from poetry to short stories.
Mara Hart, the daughter of George Kirk, is a local writer, editor and retired librarian of the University of Minnesota, Duluth.