Pick Me!

A weblog by Laura Moncur


Who The Hell is William F. Claire?

Filed under: Musings on Being a Writer — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

I quoted him back in December. Just in case you didn’t remember, because I quote so many people on this weblog (although not as many as I used to, hmmm), here is the quote:

I dream of wayward gulls and all landless lovers, rare moments of winter sun, peace, privacy, for everyone.  – William F. Claire

This quote and the name, William F. Claire, brought four visitors to my site. They typed his name incorrectly, calling him William F. Clare, but they found me nonetheless. The last time I got that many hits with one name of an obscure artist was when Peter Ustinov died. The Quotations Page was number two on the Google search for his name and we were hit a lot when he passed away. I worried that this poor William F. Claire fellow just left us and that maybe I should eulogize him in some way.

So I tried my own search for him. It’s no wonder I was hit, I’m on the second page and the ten hits before mine were all just the same quote that I quoted. Some of them had the quote in poem form; others had it listed out like prose, as I had done. I wasn’t able to find any biographical information about him. All I could find was his name on some books that have been published and that same damn quote, over and over.

As far as the Internet knows, William F. Claire said a pretty thing and lots of people wanted to say it again. He wasn’t born. He didn’t die. He existed for a petite moment in time, recorded a shining thought and blinked out of existence, unnoticed. Oh yeah, he wrote a piece called “Thinking of Anais Nin” from which that quote was taken. That brief window of time was March 29, 1971, since that’s when the National printed his work. It looks like he wrote some poetry, but there is precious little about it or him on the Internet. You can’t even buy a book by him on Amazon.com.

Is he alive now? Is he still writing? If he is, he needs to get a web designer hired as soon as possible to get his name out in the Internet world. Some whipper-snapper like Cory Doctorow is going to kick his literary ass. If he’s dead, where are his obsessive fans? They have fallen short and haven’t even put up a biography for him. If my weblog that merely quoted him on a snowy winter day can show up on the second page of the Google search, his obsessive fans should be ashamed of themselves.

Is it going to fall to me? Am I going to have to be the one obsessive fan for William F. Claire? In the future, children won’t go to the library for their book reports, they’ll come to the Internet and he’ll be sorely underrepresented there. Am I going to be the sole stalker to put up his biography so that the Internet can remember him and children can write book reports about him? If that’s the case, I’m going to have to find out who the hell is William F. Claire?!


1 Comment »

  1. Well, one William F. Claire was the editor of the presumably CIA-run literary magazine set up Reed Whittemore in the early 70s when Whittemore was on leave from Carlton College and working at the CIA in, um, cultural stuff. Presumably, Claire was at least a semi-spook, though I’m not sure if he was known as such at the time. His career is unusual and the details are sketchy but it looks like he was a long time cultural cold war warrior.

    Comment by marcopolo — 11/4/2009 @ 2:36 pm

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