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12/04/2008 Entry: "12/5/2008: A letter from Charles A. Smith dated March 20, 1988, to Joe"

Letter from Charles A. Smith to Joe Roark March 10, 1988

Dear Joe,
Thanks for your letter of the 17th, reaching me, yesterday, 19th. By separate envelope I am mailing you the Hoffie Court Opinion. Copy it and return. The story on the will is that I sent it to Osmo, he returned it to me, I stowed it away and can't, for the life of me remember where I put it and this has me disturbed. My memory, which always was so good, now seems to be failing me. I go to the ice box for something, then when I get there have forgotten entirely why I went there. This isn't a sometime thing, but is now happening most of the time.

Re the opinion. You will find it, as I did, extremely interesting since it shows a side of Hoffie's character entirely unlike the one he tried to expose. You will also notice that the judge giving the opinion is an ATKINS. J. The J at the end of the name means 'justice' and is a hangover from British Common Law, and all justices, to this day in England are called first by their surnames then comes the J after it to denote thay are justices ofthe High Court.

You will also notice that the Judge wasn't fooled and made pains to let Hoffie et al know this. You will note his remarks about the free advertising Hoffie got. What disturbs me about Hoffie is his damned hypocrisy. There he was, making out he spent thousands on lifting when that spending didn't cost him a penny, he getting it all back by claiming it as 'business deductions'. This, in effect, the public was the final payer. Anyway, let me know what you think and I'll try to explain anything that appears mystic.

Ah, writing. I do appreciate your kind remarks. But oh to be of the stature and have the expertise of a Dorothy Parker, an H.L. Mencken or Alexander Woolcott. I'm just a hack and not a very good one at that. I have never fooled myself and have always been aware of my limitations and what I could or could not do. My writing is much too jerky to suit me. I know it.

[Roark note: About this time a personal friend of mine- an Illinois State Trooper was murdered in cold blood. He and his wife had been very close friends with Geni and me. Often sharing meals and going out together. He was among the very top crust of people I have ever met and certainly I anticipated having his friendship until the end- an end which came all too soon and of which I was notified by another of our group who called that early morning saying, 'Joe, I have bad news about Lee. He has been shot'. To my reply 'How bad is he?' the answer came, 'He's gone'. Rest in peace, Lee. You remain missed.]

I know exactly how you feel re the loss of your friend. I have been through that scene and the sorrow has never left me. I mourn my life to this day. I shall never forget the morning after the funeral. It had been my habit when I woke up in the morning, to reach over and smack her backside. When I woke up and did this, I was astonished- no one was there. I began to think that she might have got up before me. Then the realization hit me. She's gone. Forever. I'm alone. In my case there was little anyone could do to help me. In your case, you can do heaps.

I'd try and be the role model to the surviving son, that your friend was. His wife is going to need a lot of help in every direction. She will need a lot of support and this is where you and your wife come in. The worst possible thing for her, your friend's wife, is to LEFT ALONE. You and Geni MUST be there if not in person, then no more than a phone call away. A call during the day or evening to ask if anything is needed or is she needs any help will do a lot to help her through the crisis she is now going through. But I don't need to tell you this, so forgive me for raving.

I've seen this happen so many time that I got a little hardened to it- people getting killed I mean. In the war, there they'd be and the next second a pile of butchers meat with no one to identify who was who. And they weren't even friends. But the shock was there just the same. I can't, and will never understand how I got out of 6 years of combat duty without a scratch physically, but of course loads of mental scars. The War never leaves you. You relive it over and over again. It will not go away.

My suggestion to you is to NOT keep it in you but to talk about it whenever you can and to anyone and preferably to your wife. Holding it in does no good and a lot of harm may follow. I can well find empathy with your friend's widow. And I can also empathize with her son. Both need a lot of help right now. Give them all they need.

I wasn't aware that Weider was publishing the Gaudreau translation of Les Rois De La Force. I was partly through translating the women's section for Jan just before I said Ta Ta. Frankly I don't think there will be much of a market for the book. It is so redundant now and of interest only to historians. What is interesting is the section of women strength athletes. For this section there should be some market if only to let the modern bunch know that women's lifting isn't the 'modern' thing to do as so many gals think, but as old as the activity itself.

Balik is earning a VERY BAD REP. Not only has he NOT paid you, but he hasn't paid the Reverend Todd for his article on Chinmoy. The Reverend was over to see me last Saturday and stayed around for a couple of hours chatting...The man primarily to blame is Rader who had absolutely no business handing over articles to Balik that he, Rader, didn't own, hadn't paid for, and had been hanging around for some time.He did that with one of my articles after he personally commissioned me to write it. He just popped it onto Balik so that worthy could pay. I jumped all over Rader AND Balik and finally got my article published and paid for.

The arrangement I have with Balik is that, if he approves of the article for publication, I get paid AT ONCE and no waiting. He also has the pleasant little habit of paying some guys more than he pays others. He pays me 100 per article- I KNOW he pays others from 150 to 200. I don't like this sort of thing. But then I believe I told you about this in my last bitching session.

[Roark note: There are two ways a writer can be paid: On acceptance, or, on publication. Charles' agreement was the former and is the best way. Otherwise months may pass before publication and then payment. Some magazines have been known to simply 'hold on to articles to prevent other mags from publishing them. Regarding Charles complaint that some authors make more money than others, that's just a fact of business. Dorothy Parker would certainly draw more payment than would a lesser lady of letters, for example.

Re that Weidfer award. I was told that a pension of 5 thousand bucks a month came with it. To my astonishment and chagrin, I got only 4750 when the first check arrived. I said nasty things like drat, darn, pee pee and poo poo. I even take the award with me when I go to Safeway, but for some strange reason or the other, they insist I pay cash for my groceries. Mean laudatory artile he has PROMISED-(What, promises AGAIN)- to publish 'SOON'. I hold my breath.

Well, hang in there. Learn to cope with your loss. It won't be your last. And on that you may depend with certainty,

Best to you and yours, Hi to Meg,