This Man Has Created A Monster

Lindsay was tending to pork chops and fixing me a mojito while he spoke. The mint was fresh from the garden, which shares the yard with key lime, orange, and mango trees; the Cuban rum was authentic contraband. Because Lindsay works from home, he’s the family’s de facto chef and bartender. Banging pots around on the stove can be excellent therapy for the blocked writer.

Dinner that night was a raucous affair. Why pass a peppershaker when you can throw it instead? (Hemingway played softball in college.) Lindsay was on a tight deadline to finish the sixth Dexter novel, but the day had been a productive one, leaving him in a boisterous mood; throughout the meal, he broke into show tunes.

After the plates were cleared, he and Hemingway lingered at the table, going over ancient history. “Jeff and I met when I was still in diapers,” Hemingway recalled. They both grew up “the poor kid in the rich neighborhood,” she in tony Miami Beach and he in chichi Coconut Grove. “The Grove was very different then,” Lindsay added. “It was where all the knuckleheads lived, the nuts and bohemians, the artists and other losers.” Their sisters became best friends in second grade, and joint family vacations soon followed. Hilary’s father—Ernest Hemingway’s younger brother—was a writer and painter who never went to college, and Jeffry’s father was the chairman of the art department at the University of Miami.

“My dad and his dad got along so terrifically because they were both sailors—”

“—and they both loved art—”

“—and they both loved adventures—”

“—and they’d both seen shit in the war that they were still waking up from screaming about.”

Lindsay’s mother, an ex-Marine and a church secretary, sent her son to an Episcopal school, where he pursued theater and started a barbershop quartet. His memories of Middlebury skew toward the noncurricular. At the height of the Vietnam War, he helped an upperclassman, Howie Burchman ’73, occupy the campus ROTC building. “Howie basically was the radical movement. He was the mover and shaker.” After announcing the peaceful takeover, Lindsay recalls going around and giving everyone a vitamin C and one Benzedrine. “We sat there all night, not doing a whole lot.” Through college radio, he befriended Jim Douglas ’72, later a Vermont governor, who presented the nightly news on air. “He was totally unflappable. Nothing could bother him.” Lindsay went into the studio one evening and lit the bottom of Douglas’s copy on fire, as he was reading it on air. Douglas kept reading until the flames reached his fingers, and then he made up the rest from memory.

After graduating, Lindsay took his passion for acting straight to the professional level: dinner theater, upstate New York. A year later, he was at Carnegie Mellon, studying for a double master’s in playwriting and directing. There, he and a few friends formed an itinerant repertory company and headed West, to the City of Angels. “We soon discovered that there are people in LA who spend 23 hours a day, seven days a week, trying to get two lines on a soap opera,” he said. The various failures that ensued were punctuated by Lindsay’s band, the Fabulous Dorx, breaking up on stage in front of a live audience. “And these were my best friends.” He succeeded in getting himself fired as a personal assistant so he could collect unemployment and began to write seriously. “Writing is a horror, and it’s been cruel to me many times, but everything else I tried bit me on the ass, hard, and turned me away.”

In 1985, just after finishing college, Hilary Hemingway won a national writing competition and called her old friend Lindsay. She needed a place to crash in Los Angeles. The pair lived as roommates for four years before things got serious.

“Our mothers made us get married,” Lindsay said.

“My mother adored him, absolutely adored him.”

“My mother liked her a lot more than she liked me.”

“But it’s nice that our in-laws approved of our marriage so well.”

“Approved of it? They demanded it.”

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