Since 2007 I have had the privilege of being the Permanent Secretary of the A.J. Liebling Invitational Short Fiction Conference. The Conference was inspired by two 20th century authors, Liebling and Jorge Luis Borges.
In the light of what Proust wrote with so mild a stimulus, it is the world’s loss that he did not have a heartier appetite. On a dozen Gardiner’s Island oysters, a bowl of clam chowder, a peck of steamers, some bay scallops, three sautéed soft-shelled crabs, a few ears of fresh-picked corn, a thin swordfish steak of generous area, a pair of lobsters, and a Long Island duck, he might have written a masterpiece.
A. J. Liebling
It is a laborious madness and an impoverishing one, the composing of vast books – setting out in five hundred pages an idea that can be perfectly related orally in five minutes. The better way to go about it is to pretend these books already exist, and offer a summary, a commentary on them.
Jorge Luis Borges
Beginning in 2009, I have led a small group of adventurous souls on an increasingly quixotic "beach adventure." The first adventure was an attempt (unsuccessful at first) to swim at at least one salt-water beach in each of six different states in the same day. Adventures have included two countries in a single day, all six Towns on an island off the coast of Massachusetts, and ultimately beaches in eight states between dawn and "nautical twilight" in a single day.