January 13, 2024
Below PM Press folks share a couple of memories of our times with the indelible Terry Bisson.
“I only knew TB by reputation when he agreed to do a West Coast tour promoting the new PM Press book Love and Struggle. The author, David Gilbert, was a close friend and comrade of TB, and serving a life sentence in prison. Having been the editor of the book, TB also volunteered to help with promotion. I’d do the driving and selling of the books, and TB would read and answer questions. A doomed plan, and a wholly thankless job.
Pulling up to TB’s house, I was greeted by a small man holding a greasy black school bag containing everything he needed for a weeklong road trip. He seemed skeptical, maybe because his chauffeur was considerably younger than his youngest child. When I opened the trunk, he saw that in addition to the boxes of books we were meant to be hustling, I had also packed my fly-fishing gear. TB smiled, pulled out a can of chew, and asked if I had read any Rexroth.
Our first stop was Portland where TB would be sharing the stage with a local activist. Arrangements were made to meet up at her house and prep for the evening event. We grabbed food from a taqueria and arrived on her doorstep with mouths full of carne asada steak. She took one look at us and announced that dead animals were not permitted in her home. In his smooth, Kentucky drawl TB asked, “Does she mean us, or the burritos?”