James Jones Literary Society Newsletter

Vol. 11, No. 1
Winter 2002

Tentative Schedule, Twelfth Annual James Jones Literary Society Symposium
Jones Society Honors Authors of Two New Books
Ray Cristina Recipient of Ninth Annual James Jones First Novel Fellowship
"At 3 a.m., It Isn't Musak," by Ray Cristina
Renovation of Jones's Boyhood Home Planned
Kaylie Jones's Remarks in Honor of James Jones's 80th Birthday
2002 James Jones Creative Writing Award Announced
American Film Institute Nominates Eternity for 100 Best Romance Film List
JJLS Board of Directors Meeting Minutes, Robinson, Illinois, November 9, 2001
JJLS General Membership Business Meeting Minutes, Robinson, Illinois, November 10, 2001

2002 James Jones Symposium is June 22-23 in Paris, France;
'Paris at Your Leisure' Trip Planned to Encourage Attendance

After 11 years of holding James Jones symposia in various U.S. towns that had some significance to the noted World War II author and his works, the James Jones Literary Society has made plans to go abroad and hold the twelfth annual symposium in Paris, France, a city in which Jones lived for 15 years.

The symposium is co-sponsored by the American University in Paris (AUP), and will be held at the university at no charge on June 22, 2002. The program will concentrate on the Paris years of one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century. Society board members, including Jones' daughter and author Kaylie, past JJLS president Mike Lennon, together with faculty at AUP, are developing the program. Plans are being made for a tour focussing on the homes and haunts of Jones and other expatriates living in Paris in the 1960s and '70s.

Norman Mailer, his wife Norris Church Mailer and George Plimpton have agreed to attend the symposium and participate in a Society fund-raising event the next day. On Sunday evening, June 23 the trio will make a presentation based on the writings of Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway, in which Norman Mailer will portray Hemingway. Contributions of $100 for the cocktail fund-raiser are now being accepted by the James Jones Literary Society.

To encourage attendance at the Paris symposium, Tales Press is planning an eight-day trip to Paris, from June 19 to June 26. It is called "Paris at Your Leisure" and will include the international flight from Indianapolis to Paris, transportation to and from the airport, hotel accommodations with Continental breakfast daily and the symposium. Sunday evening's activities are extra and should be paid to the James Jones Literary Society at P.O. Box 68, Robinson, IL 62454.

The American Council for International Studies (ACIS) is an organization that has provided quality educational experiences to students and adults since 1964 for travel to Europe and other destinations abroad. Information for the trip and an application for travel are available by phone at 217 384-5820, e-mail at tales@soltec.net or by writing Tales Press, 2609 N. High Cross Rd., Urbana, IL, 61802

Individuals may depart from U.S. cities other than Indianapolis and/or stay in Europe and depart from another European city up to 20 days later for additional charges.

James Jones fans are looking forward to an interesting symposium about the author and his work in Paris and having the opportunity to see a bit of the world in which Jones lived.

--Ray Elliott

Tentative Schedule, Twelfth Annual James Jones Literary Society Symposium

Saturday, June 22, 2002

American University in Paris
Free of charge and open to the public
  • 8:00 a.m. Business Meeting, James Jones Literary Society
  • 9:15-9:45 Welcome: President Jerry Bayne, Kaylie Jones and Don Sackrider
  • 9:45 Jones's Paris novel, The Merry Month of May, panel discussion (Dr. Judith Everson, Dr. Larry Shiner, Dr. J. Michael Lennon, Ms. Mollie Schlich)
  • 10:30-10:45 break
  • 11:00-11:45 George Plimpton: Memories of Jones in Paris
  • Lunch: 11:45 a.m.--2 p.m. On your own
  • 2-2:45 p.m. Hugh Mulligan, AP Correspondent: James Jones in Vietnam
  • 2:45-3:30  James Jones and Hollywood
  • 3:30-3:45 break
  • 3:45-4:30 Norman Mailer: James Jones in America
  • 4:30-5:00 Book Signing

Sunday, June 23, 2002
    American Church in Paris
    65 Quai D' Orsay
  • 7:30 p.m "Zelda, Scott and Ernest" a dramatic reading by Norris Church Mailer, Norman Mailer and George Plimpton
$25 general admission tickets available at door; $100 tickets include reserved seating and invitation to a special benefit reception following the reading. Send checks (tax-deductible) to James Jones Literary Society,  P.O. Box 68, Robinson, IL 62454.

Jones Society Honors Authors of Two New Books

The James Jones Literary Society Board of Directors presented a Distinguished Achievement Award to the three co-authors/editors of two recent books on author James Jones and the Handy Writers' Colony he and his mentor founded in Marshall, Illinois, in the early 1950s.

Longtime society board members George Hendrick, Helen Howe and Don Sackrider had two companion volumes published this year in an ambitious project that took several years to complete. James Jones and the Handy Writers' Colony, published last spring by Southern Illinois University

Press, and "Writings from the Handy Colony," published this month by Tales Press, drew on each author's unique perspective.

Hendrick is a professor emeritus of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, former department head and was the first president of the James Jones Literary Society. He previously published, To Reach Eternity: The Letters of James Jones.

Howe is a retired English instructor of Lincoln Trail College in Robinson, Illinois, Jones' hometown and where the Society holds many of its annual symposia focussing on the famous author of From Here To Eternity, The This Red Line and other novels. Howe knew Jones and his mentor, Lowney Handy, and Howe's husband was a close childhood friend of Jones.

Sackrider, a retired Eastern Airlines pilot, was also a friend of Jones and the second student (after Jones) of the Handy Writers' Colony, established formally by Jones, Lowney Handy and her husband, Harry, after the commercial success of From Here To Eternity. Sackrider is the immediate past president of the literary society.

Upon announcing the award at the society's Nov. 10 symposium in Robinson, board member and Jones scholar Judy Everson said, "These two titles are worthy of special recognition for their excellent insight and eloquent style," and congratulated the authors for "their collective contribution to the serious study of Jones and the Colony."

Both volumes are available from the respective publishers: Southern Illinois University Press at http://www.siu.edu/~siupress, and Tales Press at http://www.talespress.com.

Ray Cristina Recipient of Ninth Annual James Jones First Novel Fellowship

The Humanities Department of Wilkes University and the James Jones Literary Society announced on October 1 the winner of the 2001 James Jones First Novel Fellowship. Ray Cristina of Prospect, Pennsylvania, received the $5,000 first prize on November 10th at the Society's annual conference in Robinson, Illinois, the birthplace of  James Jones, author of From Here to Eternity (1951), The Thin Red Line (1962), and many other works. The University's Humanities Department administers the contest for the Society, which is headquartered in Robinson.

Cristina's manuscript, "Tracking Ginger," was chosen out of 432 submissions to the contest, which was established nine years ago to honor the spirit of unblinking honesty, determination and insight into modern culture exemplified by James Jones. Set in Pennsylvania and Ohio, Cristina's novel tells the story of Manos, a veteran who lost part of his leg in Vietnam. He returns home one evening to find his constant companion, a Rhodesian Ridgeback named Ginger, to be gone, probably stolen. After a complex search, Manos comes to believe that a man named Jasper Hoag, an ex-convict also known as "Hog," is holding the dog. The novel builds up to a struggle between the men.

Born in Pittsburgh and a long-time resident of western Pennsylvania, Ray Cristina holds A.B. and M. Litt. degrees from the University of Pittsburgh, both in creative writing. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1946-48 and has worked as a wire-service reporter, medical writer, free-lance writer and photographer, and at the University of Pittsburgh, as a writing instructor and information specialist. Currently, he raises and trains Morgan show horses with his wife on a small farm.

His previous publications include Above and Below (with Tom Shelnick), a nonfiction book about deep-sea diving, and many short stories in literary magazines. He has written television plays and documentaries for three Pittsburgh television stations and produced nine medical films for Western Pennsylvania Hospital. In addition, he was the book reviewer for The Pittsburgh Press in the late fifties and early sixties. Cristina says he's "not on the internet yet because my computer is an antique, but the first thing I'm going to do with my award check is buy a new one." He has finished "Tracking Ginger" and is at work on a second novel with the idea for a third one in mind.

The judges for this year's contest were Kaylie Jones, the novelist daughter of James Jones; Kevin Heisler, a New York based writer; Dr. Patricia Heaman, Professor Emeritus of English at Wilkes and former chair of its English Department; and Dr. J. Michael Lennon, former Vice President for Academic Affairs at Wilkes and now Professor of English there.

The James Jones First Novel Fellowship welcomes inquiries on the contest. Requests for guidelines should be sent with a SASE to James Jones First Novel Fellowship, c/o Humanities Department, Kirby Hall, Wilkes University, Wilkes-Barre, PA, 18766 or via email to english @wilkes.edu. Submission deadline is March 1st of each year. Fellowship guidelines are available online at http://www.wilkes.edu/humanities/jones.html.

At 3 a.m. It Isn’t Musak
        --Ray Cristina

Cristina submitted the following piece for publication in the JJLS Newsletter with this statement:

“I want to thank the members of the James Jones Literary Society for their First Novel Fellowship…What I want to say is this: It is an honor beyond measure to receive an award bearing the name of James Jones, because he is a writer I have always admired. It is even more special when it comes from the hand of his daughter, Kaylie, because she is a fine writer in her own right.”
I wouldn't recommend the way I write to anyone.

First of all, it probably wouldn't work for anyone else. And secondly, it's too hard on your system.

My muse strikes at 3 a.m.

In a way, I guess I deserve this, because I refuse to write the way normal writers do. If there is such a thing as a normal writer. Let's say, an intimidated writer.

The intimidated writer listens to his (or her - from now on, if you're a woman, when I say his, think her), the intimidated writer listens to his English teacher. Millions of English teachers since Hemingway tell you that the way to write, the correct way is this way:

At 7 a.m. you screw your bum into the chair at your desk and you write until noon. Then you break for lunch and the rest of the day is yours. That's no so bad, right? If you get five hundred words (keepers, that is), you've had a good day.

But the point is - you do this five days a week whether you're getting keepers or not. It's a job, Buster (or Missy, if you're thinking her) and if you don't stay with it, you might as well forget it.

I tried it, the correct way, more than once. Several times. Here's what happens:

On Day One I screw my bum into the chair and write for five hours. I go over it and then I hit "Save."

On Day Two, the first thing I do is read what I wrote on Day One and then hit "Delete." It's just not any good. It's forced. But I write for five hours again.

On Day Three I go through the same thing I did on Day Two.

Day Four also starts with Delete, but then I quit. I've put in fifteen hours and I don't have a word to show for it.

"You quit too soon," I can hear my English teacher say. "You didn't stay the course."

No, I didn't, and I won't. Nothing good is going to come out of that system - not for me. You other people, you more serious writers, welcome to it. I'm sure you'll do great.

So I wait for my Muse. I put Chapter 7 in the back of my mind (I know what has to happen in Chapter 7, I just don't know how it's going to happen, and in real time, not fictional time, I don't know when it's going to happen.)

Except 3 a.m., of course. When the day comes, in a week, or two, or two-and-a-half, it will be 3 a.m.

"Ching!" You know that little bell you sometimes find on the store counter? When the owner's in the back? That's how my Muse wakes me up.


My eyes fly open. This is not music to my ears.

"Chapter 7's ready," my Muse says.

"Go away. Come back at 7 o'clock. Seven at 7. Okay?"

"The words are rolling, Buster. Get 'em while they're hot."

"Seven o'clock, okay?" I turn over, pull the blanket over my head.

"You've had Alzheimer's since you were six," my Muse says. "You won't remember at 7 o'clock."

I roll out of bed.

The dogs start thumping their tails, Ginger the Ridgeback and Little Bear the Collie. I have to get out of the bedroom quick, or they'll wake Deanna. You don't want to wake Deanna at 3 o'clock in the morning. She breaks wild horses. (Well, they're Morgans, but they're still pretty wild.) You don't wake Deanna at 3 o'clock in the morning, not even for sex.

I tiptoe across the hall barefooted and slip into my Study. That's where I leave my clothes at bedtime, because of moments like this. I don't close the door all the way, because if I do, the dogs will scratch at it, and that will wake Deanna. I don't turn on the light either, because light could sneak out of the crack of the door and across the hall into the bedroom and, you know -

So I click on my little old Macintosh Classic and the little screen lights up and the little Mac face smiles and says "Welcome."

"Better you should be Mr. Coffee," I say.

But then I dress, if it's a cold morning, because Deanna and I sleep with the windows open and that's why we have the two dogs to keep our feet warm, one for each of us, and if it's not a cold morning I don't bother to dress, but in either case I screw my bum into the chair and - I begin.

This is my punishment. For not having a regular schedule. I may work for ten or twelve hours now stopping only to feed the horses, because words are rolling. I have my coffee right beside the computer, after Deanna gets up. "Oh," she says, "the Muse strikes again." She knows about the Muse. She things it's funny.

Well, I don't recommend it. But it works for me. Chapter 7 begins:

"Wednesday started out on a note of conciliation between August and me and ended with Elena" (his lovely wife, previously established) "in my arms."

We're just on the dance floor - but still, that's a keeper.

Renovation of Jones's Boyhood Home Planned

The house on Walnut Street once owned by the family of Robinson, Illinois author James Jones has been up for sale for some time, but that may soon change. Mel Yarmat of the Yarmat Group, a Springfield real estate development group working with the city on downtown redevelopment, has been working on a plan to renovate the property as a tourist attraction and has nearly secured the funding needed to buy it and begin renovations. "The house is intact and in sound condition," Yarmat said. "It would be an easy matter to restore the interior to what ever time period would be appropriate." Bids are being considered for what Yarmat calls "vanilla improvements." Walls would be torn down to the studs, new plumbing, electrical, and heating and air conditioning would be installed before the walls are resealed and painted.

-- from the Robinson Daily News Web site, http://www.robdailynews.com

Kaylie Jones's Remarks in Honor of James Jones's 80th Birthday

Kaylie Jones, the daughter of James Jones, made the following remarks at the JJLS Symposium in Robinson, Illinois, on November 10, 2001. Jones would have been 80 years old on November 6.

My father in my mind is still 55 years old, which is how old he was when he died. I really have a hard time imagining him at 80. It's really hard for me to picture him physically at that age. Many things have happened in the world since 1977, when he died, and I often think about him when incidents occur that in some way relate to his life philosophy. One thing about him that I feel strongly I should say is that he was a visionary in many more ways that just as a writer and novelist. He believed in things that you would be surprised to know. He was often misunderstood for the fact that he was out of style with his time.

Many, many years ago he believed that there were other planets circling suns out there and it was absolutely unthinkable that we would be the only planet in the entire universe that would have life on it - he was convinced of this. He'd often seen UFOs in his life, especially out here in the Midwest where the sky is so dark at night, where there are no streetlights. He'd seen two UFOs - and he was convinced of this, there was no way you ever have talked him out of it. And he used to tell me what he thought these other solar systems might be like, and he was an avid reader of science fiction.

So you can imagine my absolute surprise when the New York Times science section announced that the first planet had been discovered circling another star, in much the same way as we circle the sun. And I was thrilled for my father. I thought this was amazing: he believed this many, many years before it was discovered, and he would have loved it. That was a discovery I was sorry he missed. In the same way we've now discovered that we might be able to colonize Mars, and we've sent unmanned machines there: our little trucks drive around Mars, taking pictures. That would have completely blown his mind.

And another thing that would have really blown his mind is mind was Arafat getting the Nobel Peace Prize. I think that would have given him a heart attack if nothing else, because he was an avid anti-terrorist. For a man who owned the biggest collection of knives and guns, both antiques and modern weaponry -- I don't know how many of you know this, but he was a card-carrying member of the National Rifle Association, and believed every man should be allowed to carry arms - he was a pacifist. He did not believe in warfare. He was the greatest pacifist that I have ever known. He didn't believe that anyone should be killed for any reason, ever.

So those are very interesting contradictions in one man, I think. He was very, very upset when the Israeli Olympic athletes were murdered by Palestinian terrorists in Munich in 1972. He was so upset that he gave thousands and thousands of dollars to Israel after that, as a reaction. He was so infuriated by the idea that innocent people would be killed by terrorists. There was no reason worth killing anybody in his mind. I think Arafat getting the Nobel Peace Prize would have done him in.

And also underwater discoveries like the Titanic - these kinds of things would have amazed him. He was an avid scuba diver, and believed that the solutions to many of the world's problems could be found in the ocean. And these magnificent objects have now been created that can go down to the deepest depths of the ocean, and have found very strange life forms, that can survive without light. This would have backed up his theory that we are not the only living organisms in the universe. I think these things would have charmed, bemused, and sometimes horrified him, but certainly made him sit there with that wondrous little smile on his face and that twinkle in his eye.

He loved Star Trek, for example, He loved the first, original Star Trek with Captain Kirk, and one of the reasons he thought it was great was that he loved Spock, the alien with pointed ears from another planet. But even more than that was the African-American, Lieutenant Uhuru, who was the radio communications officer. This was before Martin Luther King, pretty much, when the first episode was aired, and he thought this was such a huge step for civil rights in American, that he was blown away by it. I think he would have been very interested to see the proliferation and continuation of the Star Treks - I think there must be 25 Star Trek programs on TV right now - and that would have amused him thoroughly.

He took positions which were very unpopular in his own time, such as Vietnam. He never got to see the incredible Vietnam Memorial in Washington, with those soldiers standing there. I think that memorial would have thrilled him, because it is truly the most interesting memorial we have every made, because it does not really say that war is great and rah-rah for our soldiers. It really says something completely different from that. He would have liked a memorial more like that for World War II also. He did not think war was a great thing. He did believe there were great heroes, but he didn't believe in warfare.

By the same token, two films that came out in 1998, Saving Private Ryan and The Thin Red Line, would have been a huge surprise to him. The Thin Red Line took a position that was very different from the novel, but at the same time it did come up with the moral thesis that war is not a good thing, and we are all One, and if you break up the One, you destroy the universe. You destroy what is greatest about our planet.

And at the same time, with Saving Private Ryan he would have been absolutely thrilled with the first thirty minutes. He actually took his name off of The Longest Day because he wrote a bloodbath for Omaha Beach - body parts, the ocean completely red with blood, people screaming - and they took it out, they said we'll horrify people. And he said, "What do you think war is, a fucking picnic?" That's what he said, it's a quote. He was furious that they wanted to make Omaha Beach look like other war movies, where the Americans storm the fort, and they get in there and only a few get hurt, but not many. So he would have been very happy to see that in Saving Private Ryan they shot it as close as possible to what people sitting in a theater could stand.

However, I think he would have been truly horrified by the message that movie ultimately propounds: that every individual counts. If there was any philosophy that my father believed that came out of his experience in the war, it was that the individual doesn't count at all. He does not count in the eyes of his superiors, he does not count in the eyes of his government or his people. And that is the one thing he came away with from his experience in the war. And that film says the exact opposite, that every individual counts.

His relationships with other writers of his own generation were really interesting. He was combative, but he was not ego-maniacal about it, in that he didn't believe that there was only room for one great writer at the top of the pyramid. He truly believed there was room for many writers, therefore he was able to maintain some very good relationships with other war writers of his generation, like Irwin Shaw, William Styron, and Norman Mailer.

He had a falling out with Norman Mailer over something entirely different, which had nothing to do with which one was a better war writer. It was a very silly conflict over who had said what to whom about somebody else, and this went on for twenty years. I believe my father greatly regretted in the end that he had lost a friend, and was very hurt and angry about it ultimately. Ever since my father's death, Norman Mailer has been the greatest supporter of James Jones, his career and family, and has become a great friend to my husband, my mother, and me. And that is something that would have made my father really happy.

I always imagine the two of them sitting there with their canes, Norman with his two canes and my dad there with his two canes, pretending to battle it out, arm wrestling or boxing a little at age 80. This is how I picture it. But they've mellowed. Norman Mailer has mellowed a great deal with time, and I'm sure my father would have also. He was already quite the mellow dude by the time I was a child, He was very different from the man at the Colony, I'm certain of it. I was told that by people who knew him when he was young, and who knew him later.

He also was very kind and helpful to younger writers. I think one of my great regrets is that is that he never got a chance to meet Larry Heinemann. He did get a chance to know Winston Groom. He actually helped him with his Vietnam novel. But he never got to meet Larry Heinemann and I like to imagine them sitting around, shooting the breeze. The greatest thing is that Larry Heinemann also won the National Book Award, and he was very much the unfavored one in that competition that year. Toni Morrison was the shoo-in to get that. Toni Morrison, believe it or not, is part of that sort of literary New York "Ivy League" establishment scene. Whereas Larry Heinemann, who showed up in New York City in his polyester rented tuxedo and stood in the corner, smoking cigarettes, not recognizing a soul in the entire room, was definitely not the favorite that year. And when the award was announced (Larry told me this story), Toni Morrison put her cigarette out and pushed her chair back. But then they said "And the winner is Larry Heinemann," and he almost fell over in his chair he was so absolutely shocked. And in the great legacy of James Jones, that would have been a coup. My father would have been thrilled by that.

My father was never a member of that elite group, and he refused to be. He couldn't have, because he never went to college except for a couple of semesters. Many of those writers had gone to our best colleges. He was completely self-taught.

He was clear in his position and he was not competitive with other writers. He was always willing to help, to give a quote. In fact, he gave a quote to Joseph Heller's book, Catch-22. Everybody thought my father would be scared of such a book: "Oh, James Jones has now been usurped from his position as the greatest writer to have come out of World War II." But my father gave this quote, believe it or not: "This is the best book I have ever read about World War II." I think that's a pretty generous statement coming from the man who wrote not only From Here to Eternity, but also The Thin Red Line and Whistle and The Pistol.

Whenever somebody passes over onto the other side, I think of my father as the greeting committee for the friend I've lost. That makes me feel better. And it makes me feel better for my father, because I think of him sitting there saying, "Come on in, sit down." And whenever somebody I love dies, I think, "Well, you greet them, Dad." That's how I feel about it. I imagine them all sitting there talking, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Fitzgerald, Joyce, Hemingway. That would be heaven, I imagine, for a writer. I know I would like to go there, and ask them the questions I've never been able to ask them here on earth.

And Dad has been joined by two of his best friends just in the last couple of years, Willie Morris and Joseph Heller. And that's what I said when Willie died: "Go tell him we're OK here, and we'll be there sometime." He was not afraid of death, James Jones, he was only afraid of leaving his work undone. I think I was part of that work. Just as his books were his children, I was his only blood-child, and he left me undone, unfinished, at the age of 16. And I've tried to spend my life doing what would have made him proud.

Part 2 of Kaylie Jones's remarks will appear in the Spring issue. -ed.

2002 James Jones Creative Writing Award Announced

The James Jones Literary Society will award $500 for the best short story entry following the listed requirements. The Society wishes to honor James Jones for his own short stories collected in The Ice-Cream Headache and encourage local residents with an interest in creative writing.


1. An original story of at least 1500 words in length may be submitted to Diane Reed at the Eagleton Learning Resource Center at Lincoln Trail College. The story must be typed and have a cover page. Author's name should appear only on the cover page, not on the story's manuscript.

2. Those wishing to submit a story for consideration of this award must be: a high school senior graduating in spring 2002 who will attend LTC at least part-time during the next academic year; a current student at LTC; or a graduate of LTC.

3. The applicant for this award cannot have been published professionally (meaning received payment), or have been a previous winner.

4. The story must be submitted no later than June 3, 2002.

Cover pages may be obtained from the following sources: Eagleton Learning Resource Center at Lincoln Trail College, any area high school English teacher, any area high school guidance counselor; or the Robinson Public Library.

All entries will be coded so that the reading committee does not know the identity of the writers until a winner has been selected. The reading committee will consist of members of the JJLS, current or former instructors at LTC, and/or LTC Foundation members.

*The JJLS reserves the right not to award the stated amount should there be an insufficient number of entries for a fair judgment or no entry is judged acceptable.

American Film Institute Nominates Eternity for 100 Best Romance Films List

Wednesday November 14 5:48 PM ET

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The American Film Institute has celebrated best films of all time, screen legends, top comedies and most thrilling pictures. Next up: the 100 best love stories.

The institute is sending ballots to directors, actors, studio executives, critics and others in Hollywood to vote on the top 100 U.S. romance flicks.

The films must feature a ``romantic bond between two or more characters, whose actions and-or intentions provide the heart of the film's narrative,'' according to a news release Wednesday from AFI, whose annual lists have become hot topics for movie buffs.

The list of 100 best romances will be unveiled in a CBS special in June. Among the 400 nominees that voters can choose from are Casablanca, Gone With the Wind, My Fair Lady, From Here to Eternity, Lady and the Tramp, The Great Gatsby, Moonstruck, and, fittingly, Love Story. Voters can write in up to five choices not included on the nomination list.

Previous lists included the 100 best American films, led by Citizen Kane; the greatest 25 male and female movie legends, topped by Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn; 100 funniest movies, with Some Like It Hot at No. 1; and 100 best heart-pounders, led by Psycho.

"We are now more than ever reminded that the movies tell stories that move us and bring us together,'' said Jean Picker Firstenberg, the institute's director, adding that the group picked the theme before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. "And though the lovers on screen may end up apart when the lights come up, we the movie lovers remain bound by their emotional journey.''


JJLS Board of Directors Meeting Minutes,
Robinson, Illinois
November 9, 2001

 The James Jones Literary Society Board of Directors met on November 9, 2001, in the home of Maxine Zwermann at 806 West Main, Robinson, Illinois.

President Don Sackrider called the meeting to order at 3:13.  Board members present were Jerry Bayne, Warren Mason, Cullom Davis, Carl Becker, Dwight Connelly, Robert Thobaben, Kathy Stillwell, Juanita Martin, Michael Mullin, Richard King, Thomas Wood, J. Michael Lennon, Judy Everson, Dave Nightingale, Ray Elliott, Maxine Zwermann, Jon Shirota, Diane Reed, Barbara Jones, Don Sackrider and Kevin Heisler.  Absent with cause were Claude-Marie Lane, Robert Klaus, Kaylie Jones, Tony Williams, and Jack Morris.

 Jerry Bayne moved, seconded by Dave Nightingale, that the minutes of the 2000 Board meeting be accepted.  Motion carried.

Jerry Bayne gave the Treasurer’s report.  Total expenditures to November 6, 2001 were $8,423.65.  Income received was $14,303.79.  The checkbook balance as of January 1, 2001 was $8,912. 81.  The checkbook balance as of November 6, 2001 was $14,792.95 with expenses for the Symposium yet to be paid.  Jerry reported that the Society needs to remain conservative regarding cash resources.  He reminded the Board that there will probably be no grant underwriting available, like we currently enjoy from the Illinois Humanities Council, for next year’s Symposium in Paris. Mike Lennon moved, seconded by Cullom Davis, that the Treasurer’s Report be accepted.  Motion carried.

Don Sackrider introduced two guests at the meeting: Dr. Jim Turner, a Board Candidate and son of Andy Turner, and John Bowers, principal speaker and honored guest of the Symposium.

Committee Reports:

The 2001 Symposium Committee

Ray Elliott, Chair, reported that he had been busy all week with Elderhostel. Everything was in place for the meeting.  He thought the Elderhostel had been successful to date.

First Novel Fellowship Committee

Mike Lennon, Chair, reported that quarter page ads appeared in Poets and Writers Magazine the Nov/Dec issue and Provincetown Arts, Summer issue. The guidelines were updated and revamped to match the Society’s home page.  The total entries for 2001 were 432 compared with 557 for 2000 and 143 for 1993 the inaugural year.  Total manuscripts for 1993-2001 were 3,858. The 432 manuscripts entered for this year came from 46 states, the District of Columbia and 7 countries; California produced 73 entries followed by New York with 57 entries; 22 finalists. Beginning with the 2002 contest, all entrants with email addresses are asked where they heard about the contest.

Responses so far include flyers posted on college creative writing department bulletin boards, Penn Writers newsletter, how to get published books and writing club announcements.  The total expenses for this year’s contest were $10,420.44 with a shortfall of $3,934.44.  The shortfall being covered by the Fellowship Endowment earnings.  The Fellowship balance beginning Octo-ber 12, 2000 was $122,213.75, earnings through May, 2001 were $13,696.25, leaving a balance on May 31, 2002 of $135,910.00. The balance October 29, 2001 with the removal of the $3,934.44 shortfall for the award is $131,975.56.

Mike suggested that the total prize money be increased.  Kevin Heisler stated that he felt that $10,000 was reasonable or a first prize of $7,500 with a $250 award for runner-up. Mike sug-gested that if the market is favorable we could increase the first place award money.  If we were to receive 600 to 700 manuscripts next year it would enable us to consider increasing the award.  Mike moved, seconded by Jerry Bayne, that we watch the stock market and reevaluate increasing the prize money next year.  Motion carried.

Finance Committee

Warren Mason, Chair, reported that he is pleased with the state of the General Investment Fund in regard to the adverse conditions of the current stock market.  He stated that our total value is only off $94 from our original investment value in 1998.  Warren compared that to the Standard and Poor 500 suf-fering a 24% loss, the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 16% and US Stock Funds in general being down 23.4%. He reiterated his belief that we continue to spend no more than one-half of our earned income per year.  Institutions accept an expenditure level of 5% of total portfolio on average over 20 years. Don Sackrider said that we should accept the idea that we could spend 5% of our total portfolio per year.  Warren stated that the Finance Committee chair and the Treasurer should remain two different individuals.  He feels strongly that two signatures should be required to access financial accounts.  Two signatures are required to make an expenditure over $500 from the checking account.  Warren Mason was added to authorize withdrawals from the checking account in addition to Ray Elliott, Don Sackrider and Jerry Bayne.

Cullom Davis accepted when asked to sit on the Finance Committee. Don Sackrider was named the new Chair.  As of November, 2001 the total value of the General Investment Fund is $20,906. To recap the total return on our investments from July '98 to October '00 was a plus 23.24%.  The total return from October '00 to November '01 was a minus 17.5%.  The First Crawford State Bank CD total is $51,249 as of November, 2001. This is a two-year certificate of Deposit @ 6% interest and matures in June, 2002.

The JJLS Passbook Account is $8,903 as of November, 2001.  Our total investment portfolio November, 2001 is $81,058. This includes the three mutual funds that make up the General Investment Fund held at Fidelity Investments, the Crawford Bank CD, and the JJLS Passbook Reserve.  It was moved by Judy Everson, seconded by Mike Mullin, to accept the Finance Committee Report.  Motion carried.

Commemorative Stamp Committee

Warren Mason, Chair, reported that we had not met our intended goal of a commemorative stamp of James Jones being issued in 2001.  Our present status is that we remain under consideration.  He contends that the US Post Office does not consider a James Jones Stamp profitable at this time.  This is most likely the reason we have not met with success.  We will continue to hold our position.

Liaison To Lincoln Trail College

Donna reported that there were three entries in the contest this year.  She felt the low number of entries was due to the fact that we had instituted the contest and then withdrawn it for two years. She felt that this would change if we remain consistent in the next few years.  In her effort to reinstate the contest she con-tacted all English teachers in the district, high school and college level.  This was a large undertaking but should be productive.  Donna opted to change the guidelines for entry to facilitate partici-pation.  The requirements she instituted were: entrants must be no younger than a senior in high school with enrollment planned for LTC the following fall or currently taking a course at LTC, a cur-rent student at LTC, or a graduate of LTC.  The size of the entry was reduced to a 1500 word minimum.  Judy Everson moved we accept the new guidelines suggested by Donna Reed.  It was seconded by David Nightingale.  Motion carried.

Discussion followed that it would be helpful if a current member of the LTC Foundation also serve on the JJLS Board.  Our current Board Member, Jack Morris, is also a member of the Foundation. It was moved by Jerry Bayne that Jack Morris serve as a liaison to the LTC Foundation from the JJLS Board if available.  It was seconded by Mike Lennon.  Motion carried.   If Jack is unwilling, another Board Member will be selected to serve.

Technology & Web Site Committee

Richard King, Chair, reported that he had created a home page to reflect the name of the Society that links to his home page and the existing information of the past seven years.  When queried re photos being used on the net, he answered that he has already used photos from the current newsletter from time to time.  He has no plans for change at this time.  He asked that everyone encourage people to use the site and to give him feedback if there is a problem.

George Hendrick Research Award Committee

Judy Everson, Chair, presented three issues to be discussed in regard to the award in its present form.  She, (a), questioned if the award should be maintained as originally stated as recognition for a scholarly work, original and in depth, (b), questioned if we should maintain the requirement that the work be published in the same year as the award is presented, (c), questioned that the award be for current scholarship. Alternate ideas were presented (a), that we establish a new award emphasizing a work presently available to the general public, (b), create a lifetime achievement award to someone who has promoted the works of James Jones, (c), questioned the propriety of a JJLS Board Member, past or present, receiving the award, (d), stated that George Hendrick is one of three authors who have published two books of great importance re James Jones representing an immense body of work and research very deserving of the award. This presents a difficult situation in that George has stated he does not feel comfortable receiving the award given in his own name.  Mike Lennon, as a member of the committee, suggested that the two books recently authored and edited by George Hendricks, Helen Howe and Don Sackrider be given a special award.

David Nightingale moved, seconded by Warren Mason, that Hendricks, Howe and Sackrider be given recognition in the form of an award to be titled by tomorrow’s Symposium presented by the James Jones Literary Society in honor of their scholarly and ambitious works titled, James Jones and the Handy Writer’s Colony and Writings from the Handy Colony.  Motion carried.

Membership Committee

David Nightingale, Chair, reported that there were 218 current members of the Society. Two hundred seventy-two newsletters were mailed out, 54 of which were sent to past due members.  It was suggested that the 23 runners-up from the Fellowship Award Contest be sent applications for membership.  Board members were encouraged to enlist their friends and family to increase member-ship.

Newsletter Committee

 Tom Wood, Chair, plans to continue the format set up by Vanessa Faurie.  He also plans to publish little known interviews or previously unpublished inter-views and articles in the newsletter.  He would like to use the 1959 interview of Jones, which appeared in the Paris Re-view, perhaps in segment form due to its excessive length.

Publicity Committee

David Nightingale, Chair, reported a difficult time getting newspapers to run articles submitted in a timely fashion.  He asked that First Novel Fellowship winners be asked for headshots within one week of notification of the award and/or for finalists to be notified that headshots will be needed if they are a winner.

University of Texas at Austin Archival Project

Barbara Jones, Chair, visited the University last Fall shortly after the 2000 Symposium in Champaign.  She found the collection to be in good order.  It is still being sorted and catalogued but should be completed soon.  She was pleased with the care and condition of the collection. She reported that the JJLS has been invited to hold a Symposium there where the collection could he showcased.

2002 Symposium in Paris Committee

It was stated that Kaylie Jones, Chair, and the rest of the committee will make a presentation at the Sunday Board Meeting.

Old Business

Jerry Bayne nominated Dwight Connelly, Robert Klaus, David Nightingale, Ray Elliott, Michael Lennon, Don Sackrider, Kaylie Jones, Juanita Martin and Tom Wood to three year terms to expire in 2004, seconded by Judy Everson.  Motion carried.

Don Sackrider nominated Dr. Jim Turner as new member of the Board, seconded by Judy Everson.  Motion carried.
Judy Everson moved, seconded by Juanita, that the slate of officers:  Jerry Bayne, President; Kevin Heisler, Vice President; Kathy Stillwell, Secretary; Warren Mason, Treasurer; Tom Wood, Archivist, be accepted as listed.  Motion carried.

New Business

Ray Elliott noted that a consultant who has investigated renovation of the James Jones boyhood home would be present at the Symposium tomorrow to present ideas for the project.  He has estimated it would take $40,000 minimum to make adequate repairs to the house. He is not charging a fee for the appraisal.  Jerry will consult all Board Members regarding 2002 committee assignments.  Volunteers were requested to host tables at the college in the morning for registration and book sales and membership.

Mike Lennon mentioned a possible fiscal project involving Norris and Norman Mailer and George Plimpton.  The trio makes a presentation based on the letters of Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway.  They do not charge for their services.  Mike suggested this as a possible draw for attendance in Paris, 2002.  Don Sackrider offered to secure the expenditure for the trio if the Board would choose to attempt this as a money-making project for Paris.  More discussion at Sunday’s meeting.

It was moved by Jerry that the meeting be adjourned, seconded by Mike Lennon at 5:09 PM.  Motion carried.

--Kathryn Stillwell, JJLS Secretary

JJLS General Membership Business Meeting Minutes,
Robinson, Illinois,
November 10, 2001

The James Jones Literary Society met on November 10, 2001 in the Zwermann Arts Center at Lincoln Trail College, Robinson, Illinois. President Don Sackrider called the meeting to order at 9:00 a.m.

Jerry Bayne moved, seconded by Dave Nightingale, that the minutes of the October 28, 2000 meeting be approved as presented in the Spring 2001 Newsletter. Motion carried.

Jerry Bayne presented the Treasurer's Report. Total expenditures to November 6, 2001 were $8,423 65. Income received was $14,303.79. The checkbook balance as of January 1, 2001 was $8,912.81. The checkbook balance as of November 6, 2001 was $14,792.95 with expenses for the Symposium yet to be paid. It was moved by Dave Nightingale, seconded by Barbara Jones, that the treasurer's report be accepted. Motion carried.

Warren Mason presented the Financial Committee Report. As of November, 2001 the total value of the General Investment Fund is $20,906. The First Crawford State Bank CD total amount is $51,249. This is a two-year certificate of Deposit at 6% interest maturing June, 2002. The JJLS Passbook Account (Investment Reserve) total is $8,903. The total investment portfolio value as of November, 2001 is $81,058. It was moved by Cullom Davis, seconded by Mike Lennon, that the Financial Report be accepted as read. Motion carried.

Warren Mason gave the Commemorative Stamp Committee Report. Our status continues to be "under consideration." This in contrast to the possibility of outright rejection of a proposal for consideration, acceptance, or the third possibility, under consideration. It is Warren's opinion that our proposal has not been accepted because the committee does not consider a James Jones stamp particularly marketable. He encouraged the membership to continue to write the committee in support of the creation of the James Jones stamp. The proper address is listed on the web site (http://rking.vinu.edu/stamp.htm).

Mike Mullen reported for Richard King, Chair of the Technology & Web Site Committee, that the web site would continue in its present form. He encouraged everyone to notify Rich if anyone found a discrepancy or malfunction with the site.

Judy Everson of the George Hendrick Research Award Committee moved, seconded by Dave Nightingale, that Don Sackrider, Helen Howe and George Hendrick be given a Distinguished Achievement Award for their extraordinary accomplishment in publishing two works in 2001 entitled James Jones and the Handy Writers' Colony and Writings from the Handy Colony. Motion carried. These two works represent a scholarly, in-depth body of work worthy of commendation by the Society.

Dave Nightingale, Chair of the Membership Committee, reported 218 current members with 54 members being delinquent in paying dues. This represents a loss of 25 members from 2000. Dave encouraged the membership to individually enlist five new members in the coming year.

Dave Nightingale, Chair of the Publicity Committee, reported that he is making every effort to promote the Award recipients in the local press and beyond.

Tom Wood, Newsletter Committee Chair, reported he would continue the format established for the Newsletter by Vanessa Faurie. He plans to publish little known interviews and articles about James Jones he thinks would be of interest to the Society. He promised to try to keep the quarterly publication deadlines intact.

Barbara Jones, University of Texas at Austin Archival Project Committee Chair, reported that she had visited Austin in the Fall of 2000. She found the papers to be situated in the proper climate controlled atmosphere, in good order with the organization process in progress. She stated in her opinion they were doing a good job. The Harry Ransom Center at the University has offered to host a Symposium giving the Society an opportunity to view the collection first hand.

Mike Lennon reported for the 2002 Paris Symposium Committee that the "James Jones: The Paris Years" Symposium is to be held June 22, 2002 at the American University in Paris. He mentioned the possibility of a presentation by Norris and Norman Mailer and George Plimpton based on the letters of Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway. He also mentioned a program suggestion of the Jones letters from the Paris years. Roy Rosenstein of the American University has promised the Society three large rooms that would more than adequately serve its purposes for the symposium.

Ray Elliott moved, seconded by Mike Lennon, to nominate for the Board of Directors for three year terms from 2001-2004: Dwight Connelly, Robert Klaus, David Nightingale, Ray Elliott, Michael Lennon. Don Sackrider, Kaylie Jones, Juanita Martin, Tom Wood. Motion carried.

Ray Elliott moved, seconded by Kaylie Jones, to nominate Dr. Jim Turner to the Board of Directors to fill Margot Nightingale's unfinished term of one year. Motion carried.

Ray Elliott moved the slate of officers for 2002 be approved as follows: Jerry Bayne, President; Kevin Heisler, Vice President; Kathy Stillwell, Secretary; Warren Mason, Treasurer; Tom Wood, Archivist. Motion seconded by Kaylie Jones. Motion carried.

Construction consultant, Mr. Melvin Yarmat was introduced by President Sackrider to report on the James Jones boyhood home project. It is Mr.Yarmat's opinion that the house can be restored for a reasonable sum. He stated that the structure has already been partially renovated and is reasonably intact. Mr. Yarmat suggested that the property could be purchased reasonably and restored for a minimal expenditure. He felt that the operator of the endeavor could possibly be expected to continually seek grant money to facilitate the operation to be maintained on a break-even basis. Don Sackrider suggested that Mr. Yarmat create a business plan and present it to Jerry Bayne in the next three months. The business plan should include a proposal of costs and recommended renovations of the house. Proposed expenditures should be as cost effective as possible.

Mike Lennon informed the membership that he has been in touch with Gloria Jones regarding the Society publishing The Ice Cream Headache. The book is presently out of print. Mrs. Jones owns the copyrights to the book. She was receptive to the idea. The royalties produced from sales would be paid to the Jones Estate and at the same time fulfill the Society objective to promote the works of James Jones. The Society would be entitled to sell the books at specific events as well as future symposia. Mike wanted to advise the membership that this project is an ongoing negotiation. Mike encouraged the membership to offer any suggestions or objections to him for consideration.

Judy Everson moved, seconded by Kevin Heisler, to adjourn at 9:57 a.m. Motion carried.

--Kathryn Stillwell, JJLS Secretary


Vol. 11, No. 1,
Winter, 2002

Thomas J. Wood

Editorial Advisory Board
Dwight Connelly
Ray Elliott
Kevin Heisler
Richard King
Michael Mullen

The James Jones Society Newsletter is published quarterly to keep members and interested parties apprised of activities, projects and upcoming events of the Society; to promote public interest and academic research in the works of James Jones; and to celebrate his memory and legacy.

Submissions of essays, features, anecdotes, photographs, etc., pertaining to the author James Jones may be sent to the editor for consideration. Every attempt will be made to return material, if requested upon submission. Material may be edited for length, clarity and accuracy. Send submissions to:

Thomas J. Wood
Archives/Special Collections, LIB 144
University of Illinois at Springfield
P.O. Box 19243
Springfield, IL, 62794-9423 wood@uis.edu.

Writers guidelines available upon request and online.

The James Jones Literary Society web page:


Online information about the James Jones First Novel Fellowship: