He is a larger than life character and was totally at home on the theatre stage. I really cannot do the man justice in this piece but sufficient to say I was astounded to see the theatre packed with so many fans. “Peepers, prowlers, pederasts, panty-sniffers, punks and pimps,” as Ellroy would say. When Ellroy took to the stage his command of the English language and sheer personality had the audience, including me, enthralled.
The whole thing must have lasted an hour and fifteen minutes but time flew by. The man is a superb orator and entertained with his trademark and wicked: Humour, slang, patois and creative profanity. He is controversial, complex and, in my opinion, a wordsmith bordering on genius. Ellroy was not as hesitant as me on this point; nailing his colours firmly to the mast by declaring himself a literary genius and comparing himself to Ludwig van Beethoven. Few in the audience had any issues with this.
I gleaned a few remarkable things about the great man: Ellroy does not own a computer. Ellroy does not use the Internet. Ellroy researches his literary projects using the printed word and interviews. Ellroy writes in long hand. Ellroy completes a detailed outline - 400 plus pages written in long hand – before he starts a novel. Ellroy does not deviate from the outline during the writing of the novel. Ellroy rarely watches films and television. Ellroy never reads contemporary books by other authors. Ellroy can spend hours in a darkened room just thinking about his writing.
I cannot call myself a fanatical Ellroy reader because I have not read a huge amount of his work; I am going to put that right though.
Many years ago I read Dick Contino
A hat-tip to James Ellroy – The Demon Dog of Hardboiled Noir!