The last time I saw Chicago reclusive author Clive Javanski was at the Bucktown Arts Fest in August. Shufflin’ around, looking at artwork,  he had a journal in one hand, and after he sat down with me, a beer in the other. Some folk band was playing a song about a girl, a farm and the smell of earth after rain. Or something like that.

Bucktown Arts Fest

I first met Clive at Mickey’s, the saloon down the street from my apartment (mentioned in an earlier post). He lives and writes above an area bar (not Mickey’s). He doesn’t drive and rarely goes out, and when he does, it’s usually within a several block radius of his home – which includes Holstein Park, home of the fest.

Clive has written several books under pseudonyms. Some you may have read or heard about, some you haven’t. He’s penned some essays that few have scene, including one of my favorites, Slacks in the Barn.

Clive  used to live in Belgium, was a merchant marine (I’ve seen the photos) and always wears these pastoral retro mod brown brogue boots.

When I saw him at the fest he was wearing some vintage gabardine shirt from the 1940s owned by the late husband of his widow neighbor.

“I’m wearing a dead man’s shirt,” he said. “I’m wearing  a dead man’s shirt.”

I think I know of this lady neighbor. Once, when I delivered a six-pack and a pack of pencils to his apartment, she opened her door and gave me a message for him. “Tell him to stop by when you’re done. I’ve got a rope trick to show him.”

So I recall my summer visit with Clive because in about a week I’m supposed to drive him to a Chicago-area college where he will speak in front of a writing class. He says he’ll read from his newest work, tentatively titled The Bandage Twins.

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