Paperback, 5.25 x 8 in. / 154 pgs.

Out of print

CATALOG: SPRING 2010 p. 59   

ISBN 9780982094778 TRADE
LIST PRICE: $15.95 CDN $17.50

Not Available

"...Thinking, when you first try it, is very difficult. I had never tried to think before, seriously, I mean, and I didn’t quite know how to go about the process. Most people, under ordinary circumstances, living with their families, attending school, getting jobs, don’t get around to thinking until their early twenties—if then. Sometimes they are married and have two or three children before they begin to think about their lives. I have talked to men who told me that they never did any serious thinking about themselves until their mid-thirties. Thinking, as opposed to making rather superficial distinctions and decisions, is, apparently, unnecessary for everyday life. Most people simply go along with their lives, accepting what happens to them, attributing to good and back luck whatever fortune or plight comes their way.
But as I sat there alone, very alone, in the deserted and empty prison, with my mind alert for options—aware that there were options for the first time in my life—my mind reeled as I tried to get my thoughts into some kind of order. I was untrained in formal logic, and my mind kept going off on tangents. The experience was heady, exciting, bewildering, and I had to make a determined effort of will to prevent myself from being distracted by a buzzing fly, or even from contemplating the beauty of the swirling red-brown-ocherous pattern on a knot of manzanita root. It is much easier to slip into a daydream than it is to think."

Excerpt from Charles Willeford’s I Was Looking for a Street.



I Was Looking for a Street

By Charles Willeford

Published by PictureBox
Introduction by Luc Sante.

“I'm proud to say I knew the man who wrote this book,” writes Elmore Leonard of cult crime writer Charles Willeford's moving memoir of his youth. “It is pure writing, never pretentious or forced, never melodramatic, but honest storytelling of the highest order. This is how to do it, if anyone wants to know: how to write simple prose from a young boy's point of view and hold the reader spellbound.” I Was Looking for a Street tells the story of the author's childhood and adolescence as an orphan, as he moves from railroad yards to hobo tent cities, to soup kitchens and deserts around Los Angeles and across the United States. The ensuing tale is at once a picaresque adventure through Depression-era America and a portrait of the writer as a young man of seemingly little promise but great spirit. Written after Willeford's later literary success with Cockfighter, Miami Blues and The Woman Chaser, this memoir is the work of a writer at the height of his powers, looking back without nostalgia or regret, and preserving in his clear and powerful prose the great American adventure of his youth. I Was Looking for a Street is the first in a series of PictureBox reissues of the work of Willeford, who today counts writer Luc Sante (who contributes a preface to this volume), director Quentin Tarantino and musician Will Oldham among his many devoted fans.
A former professional boxer, actor, horse trainer and radio announcer, Charles Willeford (1919–1988) is best known for his crime fiction featuring hardboiled detective Hoke Moseley. His career as a writer began in the late 1940s, but it was his 1962 novel Cockfighter that announced his name to a wider audience. His three best-known novels have all been adapted for the screen: Monte Hellman's 1974 Cockfighter, George Armitage's 1990 Miami Blues (starring Alec Baldwin) and Robinson Devor's 1999 The Woman Chaser.

I Was Looking for a Street

STATUS: Out of print | 00/00/00

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