In conversation, he does the same thing. At least he did with me.
I had the opportunity to interview Saunders for Goodreads about his new book, “Lincoln in the Bardo.” It’s his first full-length novel and, on the surface, it’s about a night Abraham Lincoln went to the cemetery to mourn for his recently deceased son, Willie. But, naturally, it’s about so much more: remorse, forgiveness, the weight of history.
And our conversation was also about so much more. He talked about the role of Buddhism in his life, how he likes to play with history, and the purpose of compassion — even for people he doesn’t agree with.
I’m just trying to be really watchful in my own heart for any kind of gratuitous negative emotion. I’m [thinking] Jesus was here, Buddha was here, Gandhi was here, Tolstoy was here, Mother Teresa was here, and they all said basically the same thing: Our capacity for understanding the other is greater than we think. It’s not easy and we’re not very good at it habitually, but we can get better at it and it’s always beneficial. It’s beneficial to you, and it’s beneficial to the other. That’s what I say—in real life I’m swearing under my breath on the internet.
For a couple years in the mid-’60s, Ryder was huge, known for manic, headlong versions of pop music chestnuts. (“Devil with the Blue Dress On” is the best example.) Suddenly the hits ended as suddenly as they began. I’d simply assumed that Ryder, like a lot of blazing singles acts, burned out when the trends turned to album-length releases and the move to psychedelia in 1967-68.
The truth is more complicated than that. It involves Bob Crewe — yes, of Four Seasons fame — a concert featuring Cream and the Who, and an LP that’s apparently truly awful.
It’s my Sunday read. You can enjoy it while listening to this:
This probably makes me happier than it does Davies, an occasionally curmudgeonly sort who was nevertheless gracious about the honor. “Initially I felt a mixture of surprise, humility, joy and a bit embarrassed but after thinking about it, I accept this for my family and fans as well as everyone who has inspired me to write,” he told the BBC.
The next thing you know, your team has endured a terrible loss.
The Falcons had too many runs.
They were up 21-3 at halftime, then 28-3 midway through the third quarter. Arthur Blank was dancing in the owner’s box. Local sportswriters were burnishing their prose. Then a fumble, poor play-calling (why not three running plays when you’re in field goal range with a chance to put the game away?), a sack, a holding call, an amazing catch … and the lead had slipped away. The Patriots won in overtime.
I’m a city boy: Born in New York, raised in New Orleans, a resident of Atlanta for the last half of my life. The smallest place I ever lived for longer than a summer was Ann Arbor, Michigan, a sizable college town. I love cities: I love their vitality, their diversity, their amazing infrastructure. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever lived in a municipality smaller than 100,000 people. (I’m not counting suburbs; living in Mamaroneck, N.Y., is still very much living in New York City’s orbit.)
So I have almost no common ground with the residents of Connersville, Indiana.
Connersville is a town of about 13,500 in east-central Indiana. It’s perhaps 70 miles but a world away from Indianapolis, the state capital and center of a metro area of more than 1.7 million. Eight hundred fifty thousand live in the city itself. If I were living in Indiana, I’d definitely live in Indianapolis. (And I’d probably drive to Chicago regularly.)
My memories of Bharati Mukherjee are misty and faint, mixed with the everyday trappings of a creative writing class. A classroom at Emory, perhaps in the Humanities Building, the fall of 1983. The ditto paper on which we typed our short stories and the smell of ink from the mimeograph machine on which we copied them for the rest of the class. A semicircle of students offering criticisms. Sunlight through the windows. Private jokes.
And this beautiful, sometimes imperious, woman who spoke in elegant, sonorous sentences, making suggestions, soliciting critiques, and always reminding us to make sure we made copies of our stories for everybody. There was a box on the floor outside her office where we’d leave them.
Jon Stewart returned to old friend Stephen Colbert’s “Late Show” Tuesday night wearing an extra-long red tie and a small animal on his head — a nod, he said, to the fashion sense of our 45th president.
But there was another nod I detected, one that likely went over the heads of most of Colbert’s audience.
You’ll notice that, at about the 6:10 mark, Stewart and Colbert crack jokes about the folder Colbert holds being “the last executive order.” The way he says it is a reference to the great Carnac the Magnificent, one of Johnny Carson’s characters from his 30-year run as “Tonight Show” host.
Which got me thinking: Does anybody under 40 even rememberJohnny Carson?