Ed McClanahan


Ed in 1960s garb

Edward Poage McClanahan was born on Oct. 5, 1932, and grew up in Brooksville, Ky., in Bracken County.
He moved to Maysville, Ky., in 1948 and graduated from Maysville High School in 1951
He received his bachelor's degree in sociology from Miami University of Ohio in 1954.
He graduated with his master's in English from UK in 1958. He received a Stegner Fellowship in Creative Writing from Stanford University in 1962. In 1983, his first book The Natural Man, was published. He had worked on the coming-of-age story for the previous 22 years. In 1985, Famous People I Have Known, a collection of autobiographical essays, was published. In 1996, Congress of Wonders was published. This was a collection of modern day fairy tales. In 1998, My Vita, If You Will: The Uncollected Ed McClanahan was published. This brought together his essays and fictional stories. In 2002, the novella Fondelle: or The Whore With a Heart of Gold , a memoir, was published. In 2003, he edited Spit in the Ocean #7: All About Kesey, a group of essays devoted to Ken Kesey. His work has appeared in numerous magazines including Esquire, Rolling Stone and Playboy.
He has been awarded two Yaddo Fellowships, an Al Smith Fellowship and two best non-fiction awards from Playboy magazine. He has five children and lives with his wife, Hilda, in downtown Lexington.


An Interview Story with Ed

And then came his fateful visit to Maysville in 1968, which would set his creative juices flowing.

But by now this country-fried Kentuckian was a resident of the Left Coast, and being a resident meant more than owning a home and paying California taxes. McClanahan strived to keep his Kentucky accent, he says, but the 36-year-old was a neon-dusted groover of the Beautiful People by this point. He was of Beach Boy Brian Wilson's realm - not of Bluegrass and blue blood anymore.

Here's the story: "I had made a trip home to Kentucky ... and went in my hippie garb.

"I was wearing my bellbottoms and a shirt with great big sleeves, and I had long hair and granny glasses and had grown a mustache. People would stare at you on the street if you turned up in Maysville in clothes like that, and people did. But I thought, 'Aww, I can handle this, you know. It's no big problem.'

"I went to this place called Penington Club. ( This blogger might have been there…LOL ) And I was there drinking beer, and three big guys, young guys - much younger than I - immediately wanted to take me out, you know.

"They said, 'God damn hippie from Cali ... Wella, wella, what are you anyway, you know? Are you some kind of freak, you know? What is this?'

"I said, 'Well, let's talk about this a little bit.' I said, 'I bet I'm nearly twice as old as you are.'

"They said, 'Aww, the hell you are.'

"I said, 'Yeah, I am. I went to Maysville High School and graduated in '51.'

"And one of these guys said, 'You're full of shit because you never went to Maysville High School in 1951 because my brother was in the class of 1951 at Maysville High School.'

"And I said, 'Who ... what's your name?'

"And he told me, and I said, 'Your brother was one of my best friends, you know.' And so it turned out we ended up drinking beer together for a couple of hours and having a good time."

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