We’ve been thinking a lot about the glow of some of your poems, the visionary language seeping through parts of Angels, and the electric way in which the border between Fuckhead’s consciousness and the outside world is always being dissolved throughout Jesus’ Son. Could you talk a bit more about Whitman’s influence in your poetry and prose?
I’m not sure I could trace the lines of his influence on my language, particularly, or the way his work affects the strategies in my work, or anything like that. His expansive spirit, his generosity, his eagerness to love – those are the things that influence me, not just as a writer, but as a person. His introduction to LEAVES OF GRASS I take as a sort of personal manifesto, especially the passage:
This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body. . . .
found in this interview with Denis Johnson. Oddly or presciently or synchronistically enough I’d been looking for Denis Johnson materials as I did ever so often. How did this guy know this stuff? was what I was looking for as usual.
May I please recommend to you you have actor Will Patton read you the audiobook of:
I loved the experience so much I got into the full unabridged 23+ hours of:
Will Patton is such a gifted, subtle performer of audiobooks.
Let’s give the last word to DJ:
I love McDonald’s double cheeseburgers and I don’t care if they’re made of pink slime and ammonia, I eat them all the time because they’re delicious.
One of the local branches of the LA Public Library, the one on Sunset across from Wendy’s, is named after Will and Ariel Durant.
David Brooks grows wistful as he considers the Will and Ariel Durant project:
Between 1935 and 1975, Will and Ariel Durant published a series of volumes that together were known as “The Story of Civilization.” They basically told human history (mostly Western history) as an accumulation of great ideas and innovations, from the Egyptians, through Athens, Magna Carta, the Age of Faith, the Renaissance and the Declaration of the Rights of Man. The series was phenomenally successful, selling over two million copies.
I’ve taken a look at the first volume of the series,
and was astounded, amused, and delighted by what I found there. Here’s an example.
When Will met Ariel Durant, her name was Ida, she was fourteen, and she was his student.
She was 15 at her marriage on Oct. 31, 1913, and came to the ceremony with her roller skates slung over her shoulder. Her husband was just about to turn 28. He called her Ariel, after the the imp in Shakespeare’s ”The Tempest,” and she later had her name legally changed.
(from Will’s NYT obituary). In Our Oriental Civilization, Will makes the case for himself:
It’s pretty funny that we named the library after a pair of lovers whose romance would get the man arrested today.
On the other hand, that’s the kind of paradox of historical and civilizational change that Will Durant took so much joy in teaching about.
More from the NYT:
Dr. Durant consistently took a generally optimistic view of civilization, despite a growing belief that ”the world situation is all fouled up.”
”Civilization is a stream with banks,” he said in his precise voice. ”The stream is sometimes filled with blood from people killing, stealing, shouting and doing the things historians usually record, while on the banks, unnoticed, people build homes, make love, raise children, sing songs, write poetry and even whittle statues.
”The story of civilization is the story of what happened on the banks. Historians are pessimists because they ignore the banks for the river.”
Will and Ariel, from Wikipedia:
Some real talk from Larry McMurtry
One of these days I’m going to rank all of McMurtry’s non-fiction books. They’re all chatty and great. This is the single best one.
Either Film Flam or Hollywood tells what it’s like to be friends with Diane Keaton and her mom.
McMurtry has really meant a lot to me. Here are some other posts about him:
My copy is pre-owned and comes already highlighted:
I’ve always hated Hugo’s. On acting technique:
How about this one, about Australian historians?
Geoffrey Blainey’s recipe for peach-tin eggs:
Graeme Davison on the wrong side of the law in Melbourne:
There are no wasted humans:
from the boss Thomas Cleary:
And finally, some Daily Drucker:
seen on Inside The NFL on Showtime.
MORE ON public lands under Trump to come, but first we have to address a reader email:
Will you continue your tradition of discussing the Super Bowl coaches, in anticipation of Big Game LI?
So writes reader Abigail J. in Wellesley, Mass.
Thanks for writing Abigail! Last year, we profiled the somewhat dim personalities of Ron Rivera and Gary Kubiak.
Rivera’s Panther’s may have controlled their APE but it wasn’t enough.
This year we have a return for Bill Belichick, whom we investigated to the edge of known facts before the epic XLIX game. In that battle he squared off against Pete Carroll, the most compelling coaching figure in the NFL and subject of an in-depth Helytimes profile.
This year comes Dan Quinn.
He won a Super Bowl under Pete Carroll in 2014, and seems more Carroll than Belichick for sure. Here’s an article about him from the AJC by Jeff Schultz. Bumper stickers are a theme:
Quinnisms: Iron sharpens iron. Do right longer. Do what we do. It’s about the ball. It’s about the process (Former coach Mike Smith left that one behind.)
Quinn also has had a dozen T-shirts or hats with punchy thoughts made up during the season, the latest being, “Ready to Ride, Dog.” The week of the first playoff win over Seattle, players wore shirts reading: “Arrive violently.” Those words were referenced by Neal after the game.
Don’t have much more to add. In light of Belichick’s Trump support perhaps this a revealing moment, from Inside the NFL:
We’ll see what happens in Houston.
At the moment, who can fail to find NBA coaches more compelling?:
By reader vote, these were considered
The Top Ten Helytimes Posts Of The Year
about Geoffrey Blainey’s book on how that country became what it is, and their national cry Cooo-EEE!
9) Jo Mora and Mora Update
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An investigation into a photo of the former first lady
This was by far our most popular post by views
A trip to the national park, and its place in our national consciousness
2) Lady Xoc
About the Mayan queen of the 8th century
The definitive winner for the year?:
A review of writing by and about fighter pilot John Boyd, who offers a way into DT’s thinking.
a brief look at Sanders and Trump
about you know who, comparing him to Tim Ferriss.
a big wild roundup.
on how a Swiss chocolatier came to own freshwater springs in Southern California
about the Vietnam War correspondent, Kubrick pal and Zen Buddhist
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extracts from a 1769 description of California,
a dispatch from rainy New Zealand,
and a personal favorite,
about Willa Cather, Walt Whitman, and America.
The most popular post of the year
by views, was
You can email us anytime at helphely at gmail. Let us know what you think.
All the best for 2017.