Much like the protagonist of Cheryl Della Pietra's novel, I once got to edit an idol of mine. In today's episode, Italk about working with Peter Richmond, and how gazing at him in awe wasn't the best way to edit his story. Though the episode is about magazine-making, its lesson is applicable to anyone in search of a bit more confidence.
Peter's written some signature sports stories. His profile of Tommy Lasorda Jr. was included in the Best American Sportswriting of the Century anthology, edited by David Halberstam. The incantatory opening paragraphs of his Rae Carruth profile is something I still return to today:
One by one, day by day, they'd glide to the witness stand, this procession of improbable women, a spangled harem of them, drifting into the courtroom and out again, leaving the scent of their perfume and the shadow of their glitter and the echo of their cool. Week in, week out, they never stopped coming.
That was the extraordinary thing. How many there were. The final count stopped short of thirty—that was the number of photographs of women Rae was said to keep in a box at home—but there were more than enough of them to make each and every morning worth my springing out of bed for, worth walking down to the courthouse for, worth getting frisked at the doorway for: in the hope that a new one might illuminate the somber courtroom with its smoked-glass view of the jailhouse across the street.
And sure enough, in the middle of a gray day of testimony filled with the babble of a psychologist or the grunt of a jail guard or the platitudes of a coach, out of the blue Rae's attorney would suddenly say, "The defense calls Dawnyle Willard," and next to me the TV guy would arch an eyebrow at the local columnist—who's this one? what's the angle? lover? friend? cleaned his apartment? helped him jump bail?—and they'd both shrug, because no one had heard of Dawnyle Willard.
Then everyone would turn to the back of the courtroom to get a look at the newest entrant, because we just knew she was going to be beautiful. And honestly, she just about always was.
If you like that as much as I do, you might want to know that Peter is also the author of seven books of non-fiction.