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From the archives of the Southwestern Writers Collection at Southwest Texas State University, former curator Richard Holland has selected from among thousands of Larry L. King letters those dealing with the daily warp and woof of an American writer alternately giddy with success and doubting his own talents. The result is a crazy ride on a roller coaster of many dips, loops and steep climbs.As a Texas farm boy, young Lawrence Leo King wrote postcards or tablet-paper letters of advice and/or instruction to -- among others -- FDR, Winston Churchill, quarterback Sammy Baugh, writer James M. Cain, upcoming football opponents, pen pals in distant lands and relatives. As a young newspaperman his complaints of "jackass rules" so bedeviled J. Edgar Hoover that the top G-man handed him off to subordinates and, ultimately, "The Bureau" quit responding. King was fired from his first newspaper job, at age twenty, for ridiculing a federal judge whose legal opinion he found wanting. He later wrote favorable newspaper articles in behalf of a congressional candidate whom his editorial superiors strongly opposed. As a young congressional aide he stood up to Senator Lyndon B. Johnson in a face-to-face confrontation -- and lived to write a Harper's article, "My Hero LBJ", that President Johnson privately branded "a dirty story". Says his old friend and former editor Willie Morris, "King has never specialized in dispensing boredom".King has feuded in public print with Burt Reynolds, Norman Podhoretz, Tommy Tune, his own book editors and publishers, Universal Picture moguls, his collaborators in writing projects, professional critics, and some "fans" who had the temerity to write less than admiringletters. Even King's caustic letters are often full of dark fun. Those to intimate friends -- including other writers and a few favored politicians -- are laced with gleeful opinions and observations about his work, the work of others, life's many absurdities and current even
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