Diary of a Parisian Chambermaid
Barry N. Malzberg, Claudine Dumas
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The text, probably spurious, was found in the ruins of the Hotel Calgary, Paris, on June 29, 1901. The authorship of this diary is unknown and it cannot be traced. But it does provide a fascinating account of what happened there between one enterprising lass, her boss Sebastian, and many guests.
Girodas wanted to go into co-partner business with publishes who had pirated his titles, but no one was interested — why pay out what they had been getting for free? Plus Girodas had some stigma attached to him…he was not quite welcomed in the U.S., but tolerated, and the feds were looking for ways of getting rid of him, which they eventually did.
Meanwhile, Girodas found investors and set up shop, and one of his writers was then-young-up-and-coming Barry N. Malzberg, who had not yet made a name for himself in SF, and who had been selling books to Midwood as Mel Johnson.
The Circle (1969) is one of Malzberg’s single-shot female pen name books — others are Diary of a Parisian Chambermaid as Pauline Dumas (Midwood’s Classic Collector’s Series, 1969) and Lady of a Thousand Sorrows as Lee W. Mason (Playboy Press, 1977).
Barry Malzberg's champion novel
American science fiction author Barry Malzberg has said that he once wrote a novel in 16 hours - and sold it to a publisher. I've often wondered what the book was and how Malzberg pulled the thing off. It must be the fastest-written novel ever that has been published by a commercial publisher.
Then at the Fictionmags e-mail list there was a discussion of stychomythia (in which someone says something and someone else grabs the sentence and ends it, just like Huey, Louie and Dewey do in Donald Duck). This has been also used in many paperback novels when a writer wanted to fill pages quickly and wrote short sentences that made up a whole paragraph (which may not actually be an example of stychomythia). However, Malzberg wrote on the said list:
I made my own contribution to stychomythia in DIARY OF A PARISIAN CHAMBERMAID, Midwood Books 1969 (my 16-hour novel).
The protagonist wrote a poem.
Quite a long poem.
A long poem of short lines.
It absorbed five pages.
I remember the first line:
"Paris is a nipple."
I asked Malzberg more about this and he wrote back:
[The book in question was] DIARY OF A PARISIAN CHAMBERMAID, by Claudine Dumas. Midwood Books 1969. 60,000 words. Written on St. Valentine's Day that year. I could do something like that in those years. Mozart wrote the Paris Symphony in three days. But I am no Mozart. Nor is DIARY OF A PARISIAN CHAMBERMAID the Paris Symphony.
able to do. “Jeanine, why don't you stay a few moments? If you don't mind.” He filled the glass again and began to drink, much more slowly, his eyes examining me. “I don't want you to leave just yet.” This was the first shred of encouragement I had ever received from him and—such is life—it made me wary. But at the same time I felt a certain eagerness. “Well,” I said, “the management has asked me to check all the rooms in this area. They have, in fact, made me responsible for the entire fourth
“The price too high, the pleasure too fleeting and the position simply ridiculous,” the General said meditatively and almost sadly. “But I am interrupting our recollections, of course. Please continue. What happened them?” “Must I tell you? Do you really want to hear more of this or could I stop?” “Of course I want to hear more. Of course if you find this material painful—” “Well no,” I said, “it seems good to get it all out of me at last. You know, there's no one else I've ever told this to,
come there Plant as best they can, on memory and heat Some apprehension of their future. The sons rise to manhood; the thighs Appreciate their efforts; the woodenness Splinters with the effort, they make Their kind of equivocal love in the dawn While the woods, spread out from them like Hair take their gloomy absorption; somewhere In the distance, meanwhile can be seen The rosy nipple of Paris rising toward the east Its small, solid tendril a bud uprisen Toward necessity. I would
said. He looked at me keenly, his eyes intent and solemn, floating in his face. “Tell me,” he said, “how did you do it? A remarkable accomplishment?” “Patience. Tact.” “But be specific. In the bed. What did you do then? Can he perform?” “He can perform very well.” “No problems that way?” “Not with me. Why should there be?” “Of course not,” he said. “You could turn flesh to stone, and stone to flesh. Of course. But tell me. More specifically. What did you do with him?” “Do you really want
Sebastian explained to me what he had done and how I was excited. It was silly, but for all my experience, that first time I had believed that there was something very possibly wrong with me; women were not supposed to get wet down there, were they? Really? You mean that they made moisture just as men did, that they were not supposed to be dry all the time? Sebastian was expert, he was patient, he was kind, he not only produced it from me, he took the trouble to explain while he was doing it. It