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MGP: When did you first start reading Robert Bloch's stories? LP: I recall the first stories I read by Robert Bloch as "The Mannikin," "The Cloak," "That Hell-Bound Train," and "The Blood of Bubastis," and this was in the 1950s. My uncle, composer/pianist Willard David Firestone, introduced me to the works of many writers, including Robert Bloch. I loved reading fantasy, science fiction, and horror fiction as a child, and still do! I recall meeting August Derleth in the 1960s at a rental house in Southern California, and he had his two young children with him. I had several books Derleth had written and he very kindly wrote nice inscriptions in each one. I had read a large share of the Arkham House publications by that time. Derleth asked me if I knew some of the California writers such as Robert Bloch. It was a memorable meeting. By 1970 I had found and read everything Bloch had written to that time! Our friendship developed when I contacted Bloch by mail, and we corresponded on a regular basis. It was not unusual to receive letters or postcards from Robert Bloch twice weekly; he was a great and entertaining correspondent, and it was always a treat to hear his thoughts on various topics! MGP: Your uncle was a fan of the pulps, such as Weird Tales, then? LP: Uncle was an avid reader, including the Pulps and Weird Tales among many others. I wrote about him in my memoir, ISHERWOOD, BOWLES, VEDANTA, WICCA, AND ME, and again in the essay titled "Arthur Edward Waite" published in my NIGHT TIGERS. Arthur Edward Waite was the author of THE BOOK OF CEREMONIAL MAGIC originally published in 1911 of which Robert Bloch and many other major American and European authors knew of. MGP: How did your meeting with August Derleth come about? LP: The meeting with August Derleth came about through Charley Carlton, owner of a first-rate used bookshop in Santa Monica, California, which was not far from where I lived in Santa Monica Canyon, California. I always tried to make it to his book store at least twice a week. Although deceased, Charley Carlton left behind a lot of good memories; his book store was named Carlton's and it carried an excellent stock of first editions plus a general stock of used books. I recall purchasing several signed first editions there, among them the books of American novelists Frederic Prokosch, Paul Horgan, Louis Bromfield, Edith Wharton, and Irwin Shaw. It was not unusual to see an actor or actress or writer browsing at Carlton's; it was a pleasant used book store, and the atmosphere was friendly.
He told me to contact Derleth and gave me the telephone number to reach him. Derleth was in California on a business trip and was a delightful person to visit with. A big, burly man with a ready smile and steady eyes is how I recall him from 35 or so years ago! I liked him.
MGP: About what time was this? LP: I cannot recall the exact year, but it was in 1967 perhaps, but it could have been 1968, simply don't recall the year because that was a particularly busy time for me and the 1960s seemed to shoot by so quickly. MGP: What was THE BOOK OF CEREMONIAL MAGIC about? Did you see any direct or indirect influences in Bloch's work? LP: THE BOOK OF CEREMONIAL MAGIC is about spells, evocations, incantations, and other magick concerning white and black magick practices. In its own way, it is as important as the work Waite did with the Tarot. I am sure Bloch was well aware of this book and many other occult works, but as to having a direct influence on his writings at the time, I have no idea about that. Writers read so much, assimilate so much, it is hard to say if such and such was an influencing factor. I know when I am writing today, I can see where I am writing autobiography and it is hard for me to write a novel or a story without interjecting autobiographical elements into the writings! But then, that is to be expected. Jack London did it, Robert Bloch did it, Charles Dickens did it, so did Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner and F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Paul Bowles and Christopher Isherwood, to mention but a few authors from many! Today's writers take a true to life event and disguise it as fiction in many instances, and most writers the longer they are around and creating end up as characters in their own writings, but that is the fun of it, too! Ever stop to think how much some characters had of an autobiographical touch of William Shakespeare in them? An author creates a character, in this creation he adds many features of many people the author has come into contact with, and the author also adds his or her own point of view and perspectives into the creation of characters. It just works out that way. Thomas Wolfe is an example. The list of contemporary authors is endless! MGP: Not knowing Robert Bloch personally, I've always assumed that the sardonic/sarcastic tone in many of his stories of the fifties and sixties was a pretty good mirror of his personality at the time. Would you agree that he was incorporating his world view into his characters? LP: Bloch was a kind, gentle man in person, a man blessed with a keen mind and an ironic sense of humor. Bloch wrote about American culture as he saw it, and he was sardonic about it. On the subject of violence in America, Bloch once remarked to me: "One of the first American writers to understand completely the violent nature of the United States was Jack London. That's why the critics and academia hated his work. It took Hemingway to make it acceptable with the critics and academia." Robert Bloch was a well-read man, and he was a listener. He had many insights into the United States culture. PSYCHO and THE NIGHT OF THE RIPPER are among his finest novels. MGP: During the 1960s, Bloch worked extensively in the areas of television and film. As an avid reader of his at the time, did you encounter any of his work in those media at the time? LP: I encountered much of Robert Bloch's material on television and in magazines as he created it during the 1960s. Bloch was a creative man and had a fertile imagination, always writing something unusual and different. Like most existential writers, Bloch always seemed to create order out of chaos and give it a personal meaning, and the idea of being able to endure. I have always considered myself an existentialist, and my writings reflect it. Perhaps, too, it was this sense of existentialism in Bloch's writings which interested me, plus the fact he was a fine writer and entertained with his tales! MGP: How did your correspondence with Bloch develop? What things did the two of you discuss in your letters? LP: I remember writing Bloch about his "Daybroke" story and then all at once we are corresponding and having fun becoming acquainted! You ask me what things the two of us discussed in our letters......the answer is, whatever we wanted to discuss, and believe me truly, some of the topics were unusual. I recall once we were exchanging thoughts on cloning and what becomes of the soul and we both agreed the soul takes first place in all considerations, and we talked about reincarnation, religion, sex, compassion, moral ethics, so much and so many things we discussed. I miss hearing from him, for he was a wonderful letter writer. Bloch was always straight-forward and said what was on his mind, and it was a delight to read his correspondence!
One of the things I found most admirable in Bloch was that when he wrote letters, to me at least, he always talked from the heart. And his responses were always honest. If you shared something private with him and wanted it kept that way, he honored that, and that, too is a mark of a decent human being. Bloch was a man for all seasons, and a decent human being.
MGP: Bloch never struck me as a particularly religious man. What views on religion did he discuss with you? LP: I always felt that Bloch was a sincere man, a moral man who had suffered much in his life, but had endured. One of the key thoughts of existentialism which goes back to the Ancient Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, among others, is: First of all, you must endure; anything after that is secondary. By the way, that is the summing up philosophy of Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner if you read them carefully and study their dialog. Bloch had the wellspring to survive and endure. I believe if he felt anything about religion it was that the best religion is finding oneself by looking within, and accepting the truth within oneself. In some ways, I think Bloch would have made a most excellent Vedantine as that is a theme from the Vedanta writings. I am a Vedantine and believe Bloch was too to some degree although he never said, "specifically," but he was aware of Vedanta and the writings of Sri Ramakrishna. He had read Christopher Isherwood's book, RAMAKRISHNA AND HIS DISCIPLES. But the general approach of most religions and their dogmas irritated Bloch with the harm they had caused humankind, and he certainly would say so in his letters and fiction. To my knowledge, Vedanta was the only philosophy he was never irritated with. MGP: Did Bloch ever talk about his religious background? LP: Bob was brought up in the Methodist Church. Bob once joked that to be remembered, simply start a religion and make yourself the leader. But Bob's real interest lay in discussing art and music and good literature, and he often remarked about one of his favorite classic works being Ferde Grofe's "Grand Canyon Suite." He liked the music of George Gershwin, Jerome Kern, Richard Rogers, and a host of great contemporary American composers. Bloch had a good moral compass when he observed people, places, and things, which accounted for so many of his accurate social forecasts and predictions. MGP: Did you ever discuss Bloch's views on the afterlife (heaven and hell, that sort of thing)? Or his real view of the supernatural? LP: Bloch had a great interest in the afterlife, and its possibilities. He has talked about his feelings on the supernatural in various interviews. I recall he discussed with me the importance of reincarnation as a valid theme in literature and religion, and the possibilities of what one does in the current incarnation affecting the next incarnation. I don't recall either of us ever discussing heaven or hell from the tired old Christian perspective of guilt & retribution, etc. el. Bloch and I both believed that the soul is immortal. It follows then, that reincarnation is a distinct reality that is both logical and important. My feeling is Bloch believed in the possibility of reincarnation from one human body to another human body in a future incarnation. But he did not put much stock in a human coming back reincarnated as a toad, a fly, a bird, a dog, a chigger, a beetle, a flower, a snake, a cow, or a bumble bee, except perhaps as a device in a fiction tale! Perhaps, Robert Bloch did have some special encounters with the supernatural during his long lifetime which he never discussed, but that has happened to many writers and they do not discuss it, yet, maybe fifty years after an author's death, some facts turn up such as an unpublished memoir or a series of letters which reveal that to be the actual case! MGP: Did you ever discuss Scientology with him? LP: I recall Bloch was interviewed years ago and something came up about Scientology and he responded with the wry comment that everybody should be allowed to select their own cult, but I don't recall anything else on the matter. He knew I followed Vedantic teachings, and it did not surprise him that I could also be an existentialist, but that I honestly believed what I was following was right for me seemed to please him greatly. Bloch had a great compassion for humankind in many ways despite his often barbed remarks in interviews and at conventions. He hated sham in anything, and he mentioned he had a great dislike for people who professed a religion or philosophy and used it as a front to make money off other people. I greatly admired Bloch's honesty. MGP: As you know, Bloch spent part of his early career working on a Milwaukee mayoral campaign. Did you ever discuss politics? What sort of political views did Bloch have? LP: Bloch made comments on politics and political figures, but what comes immediately to mind was a take he did on a man he liked named Will Rogers. Will Rogers was a social commentator, actor, and writer who died in a plane crash in Alaska during the 1930s. I think Bloch put it this way, and this is a memory recall: "Will Rogers never met a man he didn't like, and I never met a political system that didn't fail to hurt that man!" I wish some enterprising soul would come along in the future and put together those witty jewels of wisdom Robert Bloch said in the decades he was writing and speaking. Bloch was a great speaker and host, very alert at all times. MGP: But Bloch never seemed particularly political or partisan to you in his discussions? LP: Politically, I always felt Robert Bloch was more along the lines of a Libertarian in some of his political leanings. He seemed to have a sense of justice and fair play that was just part of being Robert Bloch, and he was vocal about the need in politics for justice and fair play. Yet, he knew, too, given the nature of people, such things were at times impossible to achieve. Bloch told me once he felt if people continued to be politically inept such as Ronald Reagan, then it would not be long before the United States would be learning the German goosestep. Again, I feel Bloch was probably a Libertarian, politically. Like Bloch, I saw myself not as Democrat or Republican, but rather an independent who voted for whoever seemed best able to do the job and serve the country fairly. MGP: Did you ever discuss with Bloch his views on the various "counter-cultures" that arose during the 50s, 60s, and 70s? LP: As to hippies and beat and all that, Bloch saw them as social labeling, and he certainly felt the definition of hippies was a political image the government stuck on anybody who disagreed with its policies. My interpretation of Bloch in this regard was that he disliked anything that did not help society progress in a positive manner, and he saw the whole Flower Child Movement as misguided romanticism that had no validity in contemporary times. Bloch did comment on counter-culture movements, oftentimes with barbed analysis. As to beats, Bloch saw that image defined in different ways and wrote accordingly. Bloch liked the writings of Paul Bowles because Bowles was not a beat, and Bowles is documented in interviews and by written word stating he never considered himself a beat writer. Some writers were mistakenly labeled as beat writers. I have read some of the so-called beat authors and for the most part simply discovered writers who were experimenting with voice and language, and some of that stuff simply struck me as silly, and I mentioned that to Bloch once and he said he felt that way, too. I enjoyed some of the writings by Jack Kerouac, Gary Snyder, and Lew Welch, but I never read that much of the beat movement. I would make the comment, that given the autobiographical nature of the beat writers' fiction, I would say they are the stepchildren of such literary giants as Walt Whitman and Thomas Wolfe. A writer who did intrigue me with his style and musings was Nathaniel West (1903 - 1940), and both Bloch and I agreed West was a master of the satiric novel and had created fine novels in A COOL MILLION (1934) and the now classic THE DAY OF THE LOCUST (1939), and MISS LONELYHEARTS (1933). Bloch liked the writings of Nathaniel West and Paul Bowles. He also liked the writings of Aldous Huxley and said so in many interviews and correspondences. MGP: How did Bloch view the civil rights struggles of the 50s and 60s? What about social "remedies" such as welfare and affirmative action? LP: My impression of Bloch on affirmative action and welfare and other related items would be he saw them as a reflection of a given moment in time and wrote about them as a social critic who was well-aware of the promise, the pain, and the shortcomings. MGP: With regard to his views on U.S. social trends, would you describe Bloch as a pessimist or a realist? Was these views tied more to his own intellectual development or nostalgia for "better times"? LP: I believe Bloch was a realist, and he had a gift for nostalgia and enjoyed writing about less complicated times.
Bloch's feelings on social trends are evident in everything he wrote, even his humorous stories. Some additional reading might include his short fiction, the novels LORI, or THE NIGHT OF THE RIPPER, or some of his interviews and statements on American psychos.
Bloch was at heart a realist who did believe in the ability of the human spirit to endure despite the odds. You could not completely beat the odds at any given time, but you could endure them and at times, stalemate them. There is a gentleness in Bloch that also shines through in his writings, if but for a fleeting glimpse of hope! Without hope, we are nothing and without hope, why go on? Bloch knew, too, that every woman and every man has a spark of decency within, but sometimes it becomes misplaced.
I always felt one of the things that troubled Bloch was the amount of shifting values that begin to take place in the United States after World War 2. He could see the changes in the USA, and it did make him sad. I remember he mentioned how interesting it might be if he decided to write a book like John Steinbeck's TRAVELS WITH CHARLEY and see what his journey might record. Bloch liked Steinbeck's writings for various reasons, probably because of Steinbeck's honest portrayal of the common people in the USA hurt the most during the Depression.
MGP: Did Bloch have any hobbies or outside interests that he discussed with you? LP: Bloch talked about his watercolors art, and I always thought that was one of his hobbies. I think one of his unspoken hobbies was studying people because he enjoyed interacting and being with people, and he was a keen listener. MGP: Did you ever see any of Bloch's watercolors? What subjects did he paint? Speaking as an artist yourself, how would you describe his style? LP: As an artist, Bloch was both realist and impressionist, and he was good. His range included scenes and settings. MGP: It's my impression that Bloch was very much a fan (as well as a professional) while in Hollywood. In your discussions with him, did you find this to be the case? LP: Bloch was always a courteous man, and he was a professional as well as a fan when it came to various people in the movie industry. He had his strong likes and dislikes as most people do who live and work in the Hollywood setting! I would suggest readers look at his autobiography, ONCE AROUND THE BLOCH. In that fine nonfiction work are many interesting items! Bloch wrote of his friend, actor Christopher Lee, on pages 326, 327, 329, 331, 345, 346, and it gives a wonderfully candid look at Lee the man and is good reading. MGP: Were you a professional writer at the time you started corresponding Bloch? Did he serve as a mentor with regard to your writing? LP: I was a writer at the time I corresponded with Bloch, and I had started receiving publication since 1963. I don't recall any fiction material sent to Bob, but I did send some small art work (watercolors) and some poetry over the years. He always gave me a good comment, and it made my day to hear his thoughts. But no, he was never a mentor to me. The only writing mentors I had in my early years were writers Paul Bowles and Christopher Isherwood. They encouraged me to write, and gave me tips on style, and many how-to ideas on writing. Basically, they instilled in me the idea to write honestly about what one knows about. Robert Bloch and Ray Bradbury and Poul Anderson and others also said that to me over the years. Of course, what one knows about can contain much or not much, and what one does not know needs to be experienced. I pass it on now to anybody who talks to me about writing. It is a good rule of thumb. I discuss my writing influences and thoughts on writing in my memoir, ISHERWOOD, BOWLES, VEDANTA, WICCA, AND ME. I did an interview with Poul Anderson, which was never published, and Poul Anderson made some interesting statements in the interview on a wide range of topics.....someday, I hope to see it published. Anderson is another writer I corresponded with frequently. MGP: Bloch was well known as someone who encouraged many young writers. Why do you think he did this? LP: Bloch was encouraged as a young writer, and given the friendliness of Bob as a person, it was his nature to do the same. I know he encouraged me many times, and I try to pass that on whenever feasible! It is the sense of helping others without wanting anything in return, oftentimes, without others even being aware of it having taken place, to see something good come that way for the person.....this is the Robert Bloch I fondly remember, for it was just Bloch's nature to do so, the kind of kind individual he was. There are many writers out there today that Bloch helped, but that is between Bloch and those writers. They know who they are. I know Bloch would not hesitate to put a writer into contact with sources which could help that writer if Bloch felt good would come out of it. And good did come out of such acts as the random kindness of Robert Bloch. Please don't get me wrong, for I am not trying to picture Bloch as a angel. What I am trying to picture him as was the way I recall him and the way he was as a decent human being. I think those who knew him would say the kindness he showed others was genuine. MGP: When you visited Bloch in person, was he what you expected? LP: Yes, Bloch was everything I expected, and his wife, Elly, was a perfect match for him! It was evident they were deeply in love with each other. They were close, and it seemed they could communicate in a telepathic fashion, each knowing what the other needed or was doing. They had a good, solid love, and their marriage was solid as a rock. I remember at our meeting I drank about five cups of coffee. Bloch drank Scotch whiskey. We visited and discussed his recent novel, THE NIGHT OF THE RIPPER. Bloch was happy with his effort, and thrilled that the book was selling well. He told me he had done some of his finest writing in it and considered it one of his best books. He told me it summed up a lot of feelings he had towards the violence in the American culture, and I know some of the things he predicted, such as the coming of terrorism and school shootings, he predicted to me would come. It has, it did, and we now have to face such horrors on a daily basis. I think Bloch knew intuitively what was coming to the United States, and it saddened him very much. Most critics and academia have overlooked one of Bloch's major writing gifts, that of intuition on coming social trends. He knew what was coming and wrote about it in ways that would shock the readers. I recall that remark he made to me, "Norman Bates is child's play compared to what is coming in the United States. Jack the Ripper is child's play compared to what is coming in the future, everywhere." MGP: This would have been around 1984 or 1985. Did you get the sense during that discussion that Bloch was happy with the manner in which his career had unfolded? LP: I would say, yes, because Bloch was finally getting some recognition as a writer of literate fiction, and he was happily married in a good marriage. Elly was a magnificent support and encouragement to Bob, always there for him, and he was always there for her. By the time of his death, some researchers have estimated Robert Bloch created over 400 short fiction stories, which were published. That is a remarkable feat for a writer, plus Bloch did all of those fine books. Bloch had read the writings of Paul Bowles and enjoyed Bowles approach to madness and psychological horrors. And I recall he told me that Bowles had a unique style that could not be duplicated by anybody, and one day, critics would realize that Bowles was an American original when it came to writing fiction. That was in a letter he wrote to me, sometime after Paul Bowles became the Godfather to my two daughters, Mandy and Dawn. It was always a delight seeing what Bob would share when he wrote, always something interesting and original. Bloch is one of the finest of contemporary American authors, a unique voice in American fiction. MGP: At what point did you decide to write THE MAN WHO WALKED THROUGH MIRRORS? What was your purpose in doing so? LP: I decided I would write a sociological interpretation of the themes in Robert Bloch's writings, and show how literary and social themes were interwoven. The idea came to me in 1980. MGP: How did you go about writing MIRRORS? Was Bloch receptive to the idea? What did he think of the final product? LP: My favorite story written by Robert Bloch is "The Movie People," and Bloch considered it one of his best stories, too. The story captures the essence of Robert Bloch as man, writer, social critic, and inquisitive thinker. It is one of the finest fantasy short works written in American literature. MIRRORS was written with input from Bloch, and he agreed with my thoughts, corrected and made suggestions to me when he did not. We had discussions by correspondence and telephone. MIRRORS is a sociological interpretation of the writings of Robert Bloch, emphasizing sociological themes found in his writings. Bloch liked MIRRORS because nothing like it had been attempted before, and he liked the finished book manuscript.
MIRRORS was ready for publication at Borgo Press in the summer of 1984 but was never published, nor were my books on Frank Herbert and Poul Anderson, which Borgo Press also promised to publish. I have no respect for Borgo Press. They broke every promise they ever made to me, and it was only towards the end of their publishing history that Borgo Press decided to publish my book about the life and writings of Charles Beaumont. I was deeply saddened that Bloch did not live to see the manuscript I wrote about him published because he liked it. But at least he got to give input and read its finished form. I am grateful for that.
As to current writers, I think Bloch would have enjoyed reading the works of my dear friend, Gerina Dunwich, who is the best-known American Witch living and practicing in the United States today. I recall Bloch had contact with the wonderful British Witch, Sybil Leek, and that was during the 1960s. Robert Bloch was definitely one of America's finest writers, and the work he left behind reveals a man of many talents. I once joked with him I would write a tale titled "The Man Who Collected Robert Bloch," and he dared me to do it, and so I did, complete with cobwebs and creepy crawling things. Bloch got a kick out of it! I then wrote a story later published as "The Man Who Collected Jack London," and he told me after reading it I had the technique down pat! I miss Robert Bloch. There will never be another writer like him, for he was one of a special kind!
MGP: Both "The Man Who Collected Robert Bloch" and "The Man Who Collected Jack London" sound interesting -- were they ever collected? LP: My story, "The Man Who Collected Robert Bloch" was written around 1980 and was never published; it was among a lot of items lost in a flood after my wife and I moved to Oklahoma from New Mexico. However, "The Man Who Collected Jack London" was published in 1982 in the JACK LONDON JOURNAL, a literary journal devoted to the writings of Jack London and featured fiction with the central figure of Jack London as a major theme. That journal lasted about five years then closed shop. I did a series of other fiction stories for this journal featuring a character named Willard Gray, based on the real-life person of my late uncle, pianist/composer Willard David Firestone. Other Gray characters were developed, and it seemed like I did about twelve short stories featuring the adventures of the Gray family. It was fun creating those characters, and I may bring those Gray folks back to life any day now! Another story I wrote which Bloch liked was "Scorpions" published in DOPPELGANGER #9 in October 1988. It was a horror tale, very dark and scary!
In Marilyn P. Fletcher's READER'S GUIDE TO TWENTIETH-CENTURY SCIENCE FICTION published by the American Library Association in 1989, I wrote essays on Jack Dann, Avram Davidson, Jack Finney, Gerald Heard, and Robert Bloch. I discovered the moral approach of Nathaniel Hawthorne in Bloch's writings, the approach to reveal the characters through terms of moral situations which the character finds himself or herself, and that is an important key to understanding Bloch's writings. I wrote that in my essay on Robert Bloch and have not changed my mind.
I would suggest that for those researchers seeking to comprehend the depth of Robert Bloch as a fiction writer, they should also read Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804 - 1864). As to Bloch's classic novels, PSYCHO, and NIGHT OF THE RIPPER, these are wonderful examples of existential themes at work. The killer lives in a world that if filled with chaos and a world which lacks meaning. To give meaning and substance to such an world in which he exists, he does it by killing people. Is this approach any different from the person who claims he or she is a Christian Existentialist, and only Jesus Christ can create meaning and substance for that person in a world of chaos...not really, and the same approach could be used by an Islamic Terrorist, a Christian/Islamic Fundamentalist, or a Buddhist, or any religion. What gives a person a sense of meaning and worth is what he or she creates out of a world that appears chaotic and without meaning. What that person creates, that person embraces as reality whatever form that reality is destined to take and become. In a sense, every human being is some type of living form of existential expression trying to give meaning and substance to create a sense of valid personal existence from his or her perspective. For instance, some evening take a look at Camus' novel, THE STRANGER, then go back and reflect on what writers have been doing since the 1800s. Albert Camus (1913 - 1960) is but one example in world literature. Or take a close reading of Ernest Hemingway's THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA or Paul Bowles' THE SHELTERING SKY. The American literary scene has plenty of examples since the 1800s, including such diverse writers as Henry Miller and Edgar Allan Poe! Maybe that is why I love the writings of Mark Twain so much!
MGP: Any final thoughts? LP: Bob was very supportive when I divorced my first wife in March 1988, and she remarried almost immediately following the divorce. Bob became very supportive when it was made difficult oftentimes for my mother and I to see my two daughters. It nearly broke the hearts of my mother and me, and there was much unfairness done to my mother, and to me. During that time, Bob would write inspiring and encouraging thoughts, and it was greatly appreciated. I remember Bloch told me that what people do to hurt other people will come back to haunt them when they least expect it, and they will pay for it in terms of cosmic justice. I oftentimes wondered what had happened to Bloch in his first marriage, but I was not one to pry. I remarried in December 1994, and my wife Debra is a native Californian who loves cats. I know Bloch had a daughter whom he loved dearly. I have two daughters whom I love dearly.
The attributes, or traits, I remember most vividly about Bloch are his integrity as a writer, his kindness and compassion, his inquisitiveness, and his keen sense of intuition. Robert Bloch was truly the man who walked through mirrors, discovered what was within those mirrors, and returned to share his findings with the readers. Robert Bloch was one of a kind. Bloch worried about the American people becoming so apathetic that they would willingly allow their government to take over their freedoms without a struggle. He worried that our government would use some threat to achieve that goal. Is it the Islamic terrorist threat and religious suicide bombers, is that the threat to be used to chip away at our freedoms by new laws enacted? Bloch once jokingly remarked to me that the United States would self-destruct by the year 2010 and then arise as a fascist nation......did he know something we are just learning? Bob, wherever you are, enjoy, enjoy, enjoy! We miss you.
MGP: Thank you, Lee. This has been a most informative (and entertaining) discussion.
Lee Prosser has been writing for publication since 1963 and has over 2000 publications to date. He lives in the Southwestern United States with his wife Debra and their five cats, Roz, Wiz, Bessie, Frank, and Barry. ISHERWOOD, BOWLES, VEDANTA, WICCA, AND ME; RUNNING FROM THE HUNTER: THE LIFE AND WORKS OF CHARLES BEAUMONT; and NIGHT TIGERS are among his most recent book publications. He writes, composes music, and enjoys painting watercolors. He is the Book Review Editor and reviews jazz CDs at JazzReview.com.
Mr. Prosser was born in Missouri on December 31, 1944, and has received a Ph.D. in Ancient Religions (The New Mexico Theological Seminary), an MS in Social Science (Southwest Missouri State University), a BS in Sociology (Southwest Missouri State University), and an AA in English (Santa Monica College). He is currently working on a biography of Sri Ramakrishna and a biography of Gerina Dunwich. His future plans include writing books on the origins of Witchcraft and Vedanta.
More information about Mr. Prosser can be found at his website.
One of Mr. Prosser's interviews with Robert Bloch can be found here.
The interviewer wishes to express his most sincere gratitude to Mr. Prosser for his unflagging enthusiasm and indulgence with regard to this interview.