All posts by Amanda Victoria Sewell

'My Life in Books' is a general memoir of books that have shaped my life; and the writers and poets that I have met. The time frame covers the 72 years of my life, from 1945 until now. I also publish short stories and occasional poems on my blog. I am a published poet, with one slim volume entitled 'The Appropriate Country' (Waterloo Press). Hope you enjoy reading this mixture of memoir and creative writing! Thanks. This first tranche of my 'bibliomemoir' begins with 'From Heidi to Heidegger'.

The Man who met Celine

It is said that when Bob Stromberg came to live in ‘The Village’, that is Greenwich Village, New York, that he had just been sacked as a journalist on ‘ Women’s Wear Daily’, and that he was now planning to become a full-time writer.

Whether or not this was the case, I am not sure. But, he was thirty; it was 1960, and ‘The Village’ was the perfect place to hang out and listen to jazz. Or to become ‘a bum, a loser,a has-been,a schmuck’, as his old man was always calling him.

One thing we do know for certain, is that he lived across the street from the painter, Edward Hopper. We know this because Bob wrote detailed accounts in his diaries from 1960-62 about the comings and goings of Hopper, who was tall, slightly-stooped, and liked to buy his fresh fruit and vegetables from the market stalls every day.

I like to think that Bob may’ve seen that other great ‘Bob’ of the time – Dylan, or Zimmerman by birth, playing in one of the local bars at night.

I do not know if he did, for sure, but I can picture him dressed in a black, roll-necked sweater, being hip and living the existential life of a youngish beaknik.