Read I Hated to Do It: Stories of a Life Online

Authors: Donald C. Farber

Tags: #Biography & Autobiography, #Literary, #Nonfiction, #Personal Memoirs, #Retail

I Hated to Do It: Stories of a Life (15 page)

BOOK: I Hated to Do It: Stories of a Life
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I’m his partner now. I liked it.

His success was such that when he wasn’t too happy with one of his books, like
, he wrote in our copy:

“For Don and Annie, Yet Another Clunker.”

He could be modest.

The Fourth

His Attitude about Some
Events in His Life


Deadeye Dick
he wrote:

“For Dear Annie and Don Five days after Nannie’s Wedding.”

He teased my dear wife, when she was on strike at her professor’s job at LIU demanding parity with the other LIU campus, when he wrote in

“For Dear Annie with Love and Parity on my 65th Birthday, Nov. 11, 1987.”

Of course Kurt knew that one of his old friends was the then chancellor at LIU.

It goes on and on, like the night he met Annie and me and David Markson for dinner and he said he couldn’t make Annie’s birthday party, which was supposed to be a surprise party, but how could you be upset when he blew the surprise part and the gift to Annie was the original of the Absolut ad on which Kurt had written “Happy Birthday to Darling Annie Farber on April 24th, 1995.”

There are many, many more but I must stop or the hook will come out and I will be dragged off like the bad burlesque act I could be, or the music will get so loud, as it does at the award ceremonies.

Before I stop I must make two observations. First, I am moved beyond belief when I read the inscription on his art piece in my office where Kurt wrote, “For Don, Without whom this life would not be possible”! You can only imagine what that does for me in this business where part of what we live for is applause.

Second, I must tell you that I spoke with Kurt a lot, sometimes several times each day, and no matter how bad things appeared to him in the world around us, Kurt always left me laughing.

Now he has left me crying.

You Have to Know When to Stop

When our daughter Pat, then Patty, was about thirteen years old, Wolf Kahn was painting purple barns, which were selling for less than $1,000 each. When he later became famous and his works were treasured, the paintings sold for several hundred thousand dollars each and still do. Wolf volunteered to do a portrait of Patty for a most nominal fee, which we could afford.

Patty went to his studio in the Village and sat for him a few times, and after a few months, Wolf called and said that we should come down and see what he had done. It was a beautiful piece. We knew and Wolf knew that it was as good as it could be. But Wolf said that if we were not satisfied, he could have Patty come down for a couple more sittings and spend another couple of months working on it.
We assured him that we were pleased with it as it was. Wolf then said the line that I quote all the time: “You have to know when to stop.”

If only some of my clients knew this and did this, they could have ended up with some great works instead of pieces that went flop. That is the affliction of so many creative people. There is that strong urge based on the idea that no matter what, the work can be made better. But honestly, now, “You have to know when to stop.” So, I’m stopping now.


Annie, my love, nothing exists without you. I didn’t write this book, we did. I don’t ever do anything, we do. What a lucky guy I am to share our lives together.

Thanks Seth, Patty, Sal, Miranda, Justin, Rebecca, and of course, Vega, my dear family that has tolerated me through the writing of a whole mess of books.

It’s nice to know my Vonnegut Buddies, Sidney Offit, Dan Wakefield, Dan Simon, and Marc Leeds, contributed to Kurt’s life.

I want to acknowledge the Vonnegut children and the orphans who have been such an important part of Kurt’s life.

Jessica Hester, my editor, deserves my thanks appreciation and applause, which I reserve for those of us in the biz, for all her help in putting this together.

Thanks to Deb Taber, Brehanna Ramirez, Hannah Bennett, and the RosettaBooks team for producing my book.

I need to say to my good friend Arthur Klebanoff, “Thanks.” To enumerate all he has done and contributed to our ventures together would be another book, indeed.

Donald C. Farber is
an entertainment attorney
who lives in New York City

BOOK: I Hated to Do It: Stories of a Life
9.57Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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