Thursday, September 18, 2008

James Crumley, RIP

My buddy James Crumley died yesterday. A wonderful writer, a great friend, and one-of-a-kind character who made Hunter Thompson seem tame and puritanical. Big hearted man whose The Last Good Kiss is one of the great novels of the 20th century.

We drank some booze together for a year in El Paso. We lost a mattress off the top of our car on some dark back road. (I'll not even try to explain how that happened.) We took a piss in a latrine that ran under the bar at the Kentucky Club in Juarez--that latrine ran out into the street. That urinal/latrine was to spare the drinkers at the bar from walking to the men's room.

We once carried all of Les Standiford's earthly possessions to a new house (or some place), and Jim dropped Les' refrigerator, which because it was Jim and because there were drugs and booze involved struck us all as hilarious and we laughed for half an hour about this poor broken appliance. Then later in the afternoon he dropped a huge box that split open and it was full of ties. Ties! And Crumley yelled, "That fucking Standiford, he has us moving his life collection of ties!" That's when we all decided that Les could move the rest of his stuff.

He was a great funny guy. A man of immense talent and boiling over with passion. He was also one of the best read people I've ever met. He was 68.

It's a sad sad day.


Les Standiford said...

dear jimbo,

that was so nice. so many memories with crumley...all filled with laughter and craziness, and moments quite scary to remember. i have a big smile on my face just THINKING about that right now. oy vey, el paso texas...juarez, les and his stuff---so much stuff (i think even les is beginning to think that les is more...)
anyway, thank you for writing that. and to jim crumley, may you rest in peace and know that the love of the standifords will always be with you.

Les Standiford said...

the above message is from kimberly standiford not les!

Sam Gwynn said...

Seems like a lot of my Crumley memories involve moving: helping him move out of his house in Fayetteville for Missoula in 1970, moving him into my house in San Marcos in 1975, moving him out after he married Judy soon thereafter. I've posted an account of that 1970 move elsewhere; we were about halfway through the job on a very hot day when Crumley's agent informed him that the movie studio was letting the option on Cadence lapse, thus relieving him of the money he planned to live on for the next year. God, he was fun to hang out with, even on the worst days. I'll miss him.

Anonymous said...

Dear friend,
Nice tribute indeed
Crumley... a great writer and great person too...
I m an spanish publisher and I would like to publish some of Crumley s works

coul you tell me who handles his rights, is it an agent or his wife...
max lacruz
director of publishing house

Bob Jason said...

I am reading your blog 2 1/2 years after the fact. I never met Jim but had a rollicking phone call with him, and later with Jim and his agent, Owen Laster, about the film rights for The Last Good Kiss. His energy was paplpable all the way from Missoula to NY. One the greats. RIP.
And thanks for your lyrical words.