A sailor, a sports photographer, an amateur disc jock, a scholar in the old sense at an early age, and a folk & blues musician in his own right, Mr. Lansky lives alone in the Clifton Gaslight District, an old style Russian neighborhood that is “within spitting distance of Cincinnati.” His poetry is mythological in the circles where he puts out anchors or hooks, ripples at his well-heeled ankles. An amateur carpenter, long shot pool shooter, and a complete master of gouache and oil sketching, Mr. Lansky has worked everything from bars, to psychological experimentation in order to learn the craft of novel writing. Known also for his bicycle mechanics, he has three or four shops on call to keep his litany of cycling currencies from running away from his original goal of turning pro and working with younger pros.
Mr. Lansky’s exploits have gone deep into the legal jungle while his journeys have taken him across deserts by bicycle, bus, freight haulers (rail & road), and hitchhiking more than once. One night in Nevada he camped by the roadside, and when he woke from a sound sleep he was being sprayed with Malathion by a crop dusting biplane—his next ride took him clear across Illinois and into Indiana. Mr. Lansky has become acquainted with novelists, through their works and his own near misses and sporadic hits on their turf. To date his biggest hits include Denis, Ken, Gurney, Ed, and Ernest; respectfully Johnson, Kesey, Norman, McCLanahan, and Lockridge.
Mr. Lansky has a girlfriend who doubles as a lover. He is never alone with his plants, his collections—memorabilia which includes a matchbook cover from Vesuvios in San Francisco, a city where he claims never to have lived though he also says he has paid tremendous rents there without ever seeing the money. His hat collection is missing, though he claims it as a tax deduction. It is said that he married once, in a Buddhist ceremony among the oldest living souls on the planet, and yet is alone always. He was born in 1958.
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