Judging the JudgeAs literary editor of The Times, Bob Kirsch reads at least one book a day, some days two or three, and renders his judgments in print.
Today Bob's first novel, "In the Wrong Rain," reaches the bookstores and he himself must stand judgment. The title is taken from Dylan Thomas' lines "Too late in the wrong rain they came together whom their love parted."
It is the intense, troubling story of a man of 42, married, with three young sons, caught in a dilemma involving a girl of 17 who lives in a nightmare world.
IT IS filled with sex, hostility, compassion, guilt and the talent people have for getting in trouble. The theme is expressed in its devastating climax: "Once you invade or are invaded, there is no turning back. The aggression committed, it is only left to wander in the breached fortress and bombed streets of the soul."
The locale is Hollywood, mostly the area around La Cienega and Santa Monica Blvds., but it is not another saga of life in the film factories, although Frank Chesney, the hero, is business manager for movie people.
In his spare time Kirsch, 37, who attended City College, teaches creative writing at UCLA. He is very proud that last year three of the 24 students in his class had novels accepted for publication.
He need have no fear that his students will scoff at the prof. He has written a serious, mature book, sparing nothing. It bears the mark of the old pro. Look for it on the best seller list.
KID STUFF -- The big question for today was propounded by Christine Trammell, 6. She asked her father, "How do you grow mashed potatoes?" ... There are two more weeks of school after this one but the youngsters are already planning. "Thank heaven it's over" parties for the last day.
NONE TOO NEATNIK
The sloppy beatnik on the campus,
Rough as a gaucho on the pampas,
With sandals, stains, and beard that's molting
Is, he proclaims (he's right) revolting.
- RICHARD ARMOUR
SOMETHING mighty strange, perhaps a trend toward belligerence, seems to be taking hold. Gerald H. Upson of La Crescenta reported, "Every time I read something about psychiatrists I can't help wondering whatever happened to the good old-fashioned punch in the nose" ... The same day WillHarriss overheard a customer in the Sunshine Mission Thrift store in Santa Monica tell the clerk. "So I says to him, 'God willing, I'm going to punch you right in the nose.'"
ANY TIME YOU hear someone say life in our burgeoning community is a kind of mirage', say softly to him, "Los Angeles High School," a rather permanent asset. The classes of 1899, 1909, 1934 and 1949 will be honored at the annual alumni meeting Saturday at the Breakfast Club.
AROUND TOWN -- A Studebaker Lark on Hollywood Freeway with three women passengers was driven by a chauffeur in livery and cap ... Considering the legal tangles, eviction hassles and inevitable traffic headaches when the Dodgers finally get into Chavez Ravine. GeorgeAnter suggests the name "Chaos Canyon" ... Heard a fine new band. Ray DeMichaels ', on KNOB-FM. Sounded like Count Basie's. Perhaps the rock and roll slush has about run its course and, as the disc jockeys say,the big bands are coming back.
MISCELLANY -- Overheard: "You know, I'm getting so I don't care how many people hear Billy Graham speak in Australia!" ... Kent Pillsbury, former editor of the L.A. Free Press, which folded more than a year ago here, and now on the Arizona State faculty, has been awarded a $5,000 study-travel fellowship abroad ... Nothing is too good for the ladies. The phone company has installed blue and yellow pay phones in Exposition Hall at Shrine Auditorium for the General Federation of Women's Clubs convention ... Press release fromKMPC states a sportscaster scored a beat by acting "on his sixth reportorial sense." As the saying goes, it bugs me.