TPR: You’ve published many works of fiction and nonfiction. What we want to know is how a terrific writer like yourself spends his spare time. Reading great books? Memorizing hard words? At art museums? Playing chess?
DG: Jonah and I played nine holes of golf yesterday. We learned several important skill sets. 1) 4 balls are not enough. 2) Though I play hockey and baseball left-handed, I play golf right-handed. Thus we did not need 2 bags of clubs. 3) Do not play golf with the pencil stuck behind your ear. You will lose it and then you can only etch the score into the score card with the tip of a tee.
TPR: Fascinating. I imagine your golf skills are pretty high. What is your handicap?
DG: I have an artificial knee. (Next time we’re going to rent two of those golf cart thingies and race each other on the fairways.)
DG: Let me finish. Also I was handicapped by the large number of water hazards. I had to wade into one festering swamp up to my knees to retrieve a ball. Jonah thought this was funny. He took some very good video of one my best drives which ends with a large waterspout in the distance. Also, as mentioned above, we were handicapped by a shortage of balls. The last hole we started with only one ball between us which is pretty difficult. Jonah hit his tee shot and then ran over and marked his spot and threw the ball back to me and then I hit my tee shot and marked that and threw the ball back to him. This makes golf an arduous and time-consuming sport.
TPR: Is there any similarity, in your mind, between golf and writing?
TPR: Could you expand on that?
DG: In writing as in golf, I seem to hit my drives into the water traps or they end up on the wrong fairway or they get lost altogether. Also both writing and golf depress me.
TPR: We imagine that you thought about writing a lot as you played and that there was considerable intellectual byplay–witty remarks, etc.
DG: Jonah was very witty. At one point, he observed that what consoled him through the ordeal was the thought that no matter how awful things got he’d still be able to beat Stephen Hawking.
TPR: Er, thank you. That will be quite enough.
DG: So when will this be published?