“Selby was not the kind of writer who influenced you, he was the kind who saved your life.” ~ Jerry Stahl


Being an artist doesn’t take much, just everything you got.” ~ Hubert Selby Jr. aka Cubby Selby

When I moved from Paris, France to Los Angeles in 1991, I had three phone numbers in my pocket, one of which was Hubert ‘Cubby’ Selby’s. I met the legendary author during my first visit to LA in April of that year. Selby was reading along with Henry Rollins at Largo on Fairfax (at the time known as Cafe Largo). Have you ever dreamed of meeting one of your favorite writers? For me, Henry Miller was dead, but Selby was well and living in Los Angeles. During the last years of his life, Miller put a note on his front door in Big Sur asking people to please respect his wish to be left alone. Selby was so approachable Rollins simply found his number in the phone book. I must say one of my motives to meet Selby was self-centered: “If a great writer befriends me, it means there must be a great writer in me.”

Then the other reason. I had just read The Room and identified with that book in a way that I couldn’t even reveal to myself at the time. People came to Cubby because they felt he knew their pain. Like everyone else before me, I was a little apprehensive to meet the author of a work of art that both attracted and terrified me. Even Rollins said he expected to find Selby living in a cave with rats crawling all around him. Then the day came when I sat across from this skinny man with turquoise blue eyes. “I’ve read The Room and I loved it and…” and I suddenly noticed that this man was… weightless… in a supernatural way.

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