At the office we had a splurge of orders that cleaned out most of the stock and then gradually Miss Crippin's work tapered off to just forwarding the mail. For over a week we idled the hours away in each other's company. I was full of radical ideas, wanting to discuss books and the news of the day, the theater, a thousand things. None of it interested her, as she was involved with her religion, really trying to live up to its mores. Yet in spite of our differences, it was a wonderful time. It seems impossible but there it was. We really beamed at each other each morning. True, she never wore anything under her skirt, but that was the only concession. Her sexual need was in a logic-tight compartment that made her seem to have a dual personality, but that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about the companionship that's possible for people with no like interests that sometimes reaches the stage of great beauty, of complete openness, of steadfast warmth, when all signs show it to be patently impossible.
-excerpt from A Heaven in the Eye, by Clyde Rice
It is the only book that my father and I ever shared, I reading it first and purchasing a paperback copy for him one Father's Day (the only gift I ever sent him during the only year we ever corresponded). He wrote that he loved it, but I knew that he would based on similarities he and the author had regarding a strong identification with specific place-names and a gutter-hot feeling for the women in their lives. If he hadn't drowned in the bottle my father might have written a first novel at 81-years of age as Clyde Rice did. Heaven knows he had the talent, and a gritty collection of keen and ironic observations to feed it.
*Information added after original posting: A Heaven in the Eye may be purchased from the Friends of Clyde Rice website.
art: Office at Night, Edward Hopper