Hubert Selby Jr : Last Exit To Brooklyn

Last Exit To Brooklyn cover - Rik Rawling

I realized that I would die, and that just before I would die, two things would happen. Number one, I would regret my entire life, and number two, I would want to live my life over again. And then I would die, and that terrified me. To think that I would live my entire life, look at it, and say oh..I blew it. was such a terrifying thought that I bought a typewriter. I didn’t know what I was going to do with it, but I bought a typewriter. but that is what got me to start writing, was… I did not want to waste my life. I wanted to, and I HAD to, do something with my life.
Hubert Selby Jr.

I’ve used my 2015 drawing ‘The Night’ as a mock-up cover for Hubert Selby Jr’s Last Exit To Brooklyn. Selby was a unique presence in American literature, born and raised in poverty, and stricken with near-fatal tuberculosis in his late teens, he had a deathbed epiphany that could be summed up as “write, or die.” Ignoring traditional rules of grammar and narrative structure, Selby had the same impact in his chosen medium as John Coltrane and Jackson Pollock had in theirs, and like Coltrane and Pollock, Selby succumbed to addiction in the 1960’s, but defied all predictions to live a long life and leave behind a legacy and an example to many others who now know what it takes if you want to make something that matters.

Here’s my 2010 sketch of Hubert Selby Jr:

Hubert Selby JrHubert Selby Jr: It’ll Be Better Tomorrow (documentary)


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