Almost exactly 20 years ago I hung for two or three hours with novelist-poet Jim Harrison, who at the time was 58 and in the absolute prime of his life, or so it seemed to me. The occasion was the Century City premiere of Bruno Barreto‘s Carried Away, which was based on Harrison’s “Farmer.” I had arranged with a Fine Line publicist to speak with him. 40 minutes before the film began I approached the marquee area and saw Harrison standing outside with some admirer or whomever, and I went up and introduced myself. He sensed my smart-ass attitude fairly quickly and we were fine from then on. Most of the talking happened at the after-party. A great fellow. He had this elegant, heavy-cat way of speaking (he would say “I think not” rather than “I don’t agree”) and had that slightly weird false eye and always with the lit cigarette…I just felt honored to share space with the guy. I so loved those Russell Chatham watercolors that always adorned the covers of the trade paperback editions of his books. Harrison was and still is one of my all-time favorite writers and a major stylistic influence (the others being Milan Kundera, Hunter S. Thompson, Tom Wolfe, William Faulkner, Norman Mailer, William Safire, Russell Baker). His prose can be so clean and clear and monumentally beautiful. I remember a line from “Dalva” about some none-too-bright guy being so in love with a woman that “he sometimes felt as if her ass was aimed at him, like some people from the lower end of the gene pool believe that TV shows are made for them personally.” I filed an L.A. Times Syndicate piece called “Riffing with Jim Harrison: The Brawny Poet-Novelist on Hollywood and Carried Away.” And now Harrison is dead of a heart attack at age 78. I can’t think of anything more to say except that he had a great 40-year run. It would have been nice to chat with him one more time but that Century City encounter was pretty special. Cheers.