For Raymond Carver, a Lifetime of Storytelling
By STEWART KELLERMAN
As a boy growing up in Yakima, Wash., Raymond Carver used to slip into his parents’ room in the evening, sit at the foot of the bed and ask his father to tell him a story. ”He was a good talker,” Mr. Carver said. ”All I had to do to get him going was ask about my great-grandfather.”
Before long, the boy was telling his own stories. ”I’d thought about writing since I was a squirt,” Mr. Carver said. ”But I didn’t know beans about anything. I began by writing science fiction. It was awful. Really awful.”
He was reminiscing recently during an interview at the St. Regis-Sheraton Hotel in Manhattan and in a telephone conversation from his home in Port Angeles, Wash.
Mr. Carver, who was in New York for his induction into the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, described his struggles with poverty, alcoholism, a broken marriage and, now, cancer.
Through it all, he has kept writing, from the first poem he sold, for $1 more than a quarter of a century ago, to his recently published book, ”Where I’m Calling From” (Atlantic Monthly Press), a selection of what he considers his best short stories.