Leonard Gardner followed the silky smooth vocal styling of Hamill, and the change is pleasantly jarring, as if the evening just switched to southpaw in the twelfth round to rattle an unsuspecting opponent. Gardner’s halting and considered mode of expression forces one to play close attention. “I got into writing and boxing around the same time.” Gardner would discuss his father, as well. His dad had actually been a fighter. “[He] always said they couldn’t touch me, they couldn’t touch me… and I thought this was possible,” Gardner said with a smile. His sentiments correlate with Hamill’s, in the aspect of imagination. He’d no doubt pretended to be his father at an early juncture in life, dodging every punch, fully embracing possibility. Gardner, in fact, boxed on the outskirts of the professional ranks. He eventually wrote “Fat City,” a novel deemed by many the finest ever written about the sport. “I worked for four years on my novel Fat City… by bringing boxing into the fiction I was able to work on a level I hadn’t before.” Yes… he must have found another level of possibility, perhaps previously unrealistic. Maybe on that plane of writing, he’s dodging every punch.
April 20, 2011
At The Fights: Part 4