Updated below. Update II.
In other PKD news, Philip K. Dick’s former wife, Tessa Dick, has posted a strongly worded complaint about Linda Levy, who corresponded with Dick in the early 1970s and has been trying to sell this correspondence via eBay (see story in Total Dick-head).
The eBay auction, which never met its reserve, ended on July 2, 2008. A catalog describing the contents has since been removed. (See update below.)
Tessa Dick wrote in an entry dated July 1, 2008:
A certain Linda Levy is selling letters on eBay, letters written to her by my husband Philip K. Dick, who passed away in 1982. She wants at least $50 thousand for those letters, and some of them look phony to me. On top of that, she is making many false claims to boost the value of those letters. She claims that Phil beat me up and I came crying to her. Not true. She claims that Phil was always running to her, when the fact is that she was always crying to him to come over and help her with stupid things, such as when she saw a spider in her shower.
(In eBay auctions the reserve is not disclosed; but a bid of $24k was apparently below it.) Levy’s account of how Tessa was beaten up by Dick is recounted in her own words on p. 199 of Sutin’s biography, Divine Invasions, which draws on a letter Levy wrote in the PKDS Newsletter #20, April 1989 (p. 9).
In the eBay listing Levy calls herself “one of” the dark haired girls:
It is also the first collection of its kind offered by one of Phil’s own dark-haired girls.
But TD rejected Levy’s claims to be the famous “dark haired girl” of PKD’s book of the same name:
She claims to be the “dark-haired girl” that Phil was obsessed with, even though is published book The Dark-Haired Girl is about ME!
Yet Levy is hardly an unknown. She undoubtedly had a personal and epistolary relationship with PKD as this letter he wrote May 20, 1972 indicates (full-text here):
Letter from Philip K. Dick to Bev Davies
May 20th, 1972
involved with a black-haired groovy spaced-out foxy chick (as we say here),
a wild, self-destructive, beautiful girl named Linda whom I love very much,
but who is hurting me and whom, I’m afraid, I’m hurting too. It’s a
love-suffering-grief-sorrow-laughter relationship, a great life-death
struggle between us and between our separate heads; there is a sort of
perpetual misunderstanding between us, and yet a continual attempt on both
our parts to keep going, keep trying to figure each other out. It is
melancholy, but punctuated with flashes of keen black humor by both of us.
Linda had written me while I was in Canada, and, when I got off the plane
at L.A. International, there she was waiting, with the others, to meet me.
Destiny in a miniskirt.
Linda Levy is a well known person in Dick’s biography, despite Tessa’s description of her as a “a certain Linda Levy.” She was introduced to PKD via Prof. Willis (“Will”) McNelly of Cal. State Fullerton while PKD was checked in at X-Kalay in Canada. (McNelly died in 2003, cf. Wikipedia.)
PKD’s letters to Levy appear in the relevant volumes of his Selected Letters (eg., April 21, August 30, 1972, Sept “0″ 1973). The May 20th letter referred to in the excerpt above has even been reproduced here.
Exactly what PKD meant by “I’ve become involved” isn’t clear. Dick’s biographer says that Dick “promptly fell in love” with her (p. 194) on his return from the clinic in Canada, but simultaneously he was attracted to a girl who lived next door and “even asked her to marry him” (p. 195). Sutin says that while Dick was infatuated with Levy they did not become lovers.
Funnily enough, Tessa Dick refers to the book The Dark Haired Girl as being about her, but it also contains love letters to Linda (pp. 57-69) along with the “destiny in a miniskirt” letter. In one of them, PKD asks Linda if he will marry her. But it seems it was a very emotional relationship and in mid July 1972 PKD met Tessa Dick who also gets love letters in the Dark Haired Girl.
Obviously you can draw your own conclusions. Without being there I would only note that Dick and Tessa did marry and have a son, that the Dark Haired Girl (and the Selected Letters) contain “love” letters to many different women, and that Linda Levy knew Dick for a period of some months before and while he was seeing Tessa. According to the September “0″ letter, their relationship had broken off about “ten months” previously, ie around November-December 1972.
Perhaps most interesting is the direct contradiction between Levy’s PKDS letter in April 1989 of PKD violence on Tessa, and Tessa’s complete denial today.
Finally, a much more interesting correspondence (imho) was carried out between Dick and Claudia Bush. Many of these are reproduced in the Selected Letters for 1974, were once offered for sale at $1,100 per letter (see listing).
Here’s a scan of one of them:
Update II. Tessa Dick, PKD’s wife, responds below.