Author Speaks From His ‘Hart,’ Talks Poverty to Privilege
Discussing the story of his rise from poverty to privilege, James Hart, a writer, poet, and activist, shared with University at Albany students and several community writers the scenes that almost ruined his life.
During an art and memoir seminar last Thursday evening at the Science Library Standish room, Hart discussed his powerful new memoir “Lucky Jim.”
Hart was married to Carly Simon for almost 20 years, and he says their marriage was filled with “kinky sex” and “mutual jealousy” until it ended with his addiction to crack cocaine, pills, alcohol, and his homosexuality.
Hart married Simon six months after their first encounter. The writer said, “When men started to look more and more suspicious to me I thought to myself ‘you should see a therapist about this part,’ I was confused.”
When their marriage became distant, Hart said Simon advised him to “go get laid,” when he went to Chinatown and looked at the selection he wasn’t attracted to any female. That same night he went to a male strip club and felt he was home.
Hart befriended the Clintons during Bill’s impeachment, taught Jackie Onassis how to dance and tells stories of famous people from Martha’s Vineyard, all while getting roaring drunk, becoming sober, getting hooked on crack, taking any drug that will keep him going, becoming bisexual, and taking care of his severely disabled son.
Hart grew up in Troy, New York, where he experienced the violence of a father whose “rage was as unpredictable as the Atlantic,” and Catholicism had been his refuge.
“Time gives and takes away, and recovery comes with loss,” said Hart when asked how he balanced to deal with all the scenarios.
He had been trying to write this book since he was 14. “I tried to reveal as much as I can that is important. I could’ve written a book that could’ve been a complete failure. It happens all the time, but I persisted during the writing, publishing, and ended up revealing to myself throughout,” he said.
His success in life, he said, has been based on his ability to connect with others, from people recovering in 12-step groups, to those famous ones living in Martha’s Vineyard.
“As a young writer you should always trust in yourself and your ability to do the work,” said Hart.