Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Proust and the Mystic Chords of Memory

August 22, 2015

UnknownMarcel Proust was an odd cat. Poor health immured him for much of his life in his bedroom, whose walls he had lined with cork to keep the world out; he succumbed at 51. And yet he managed to be something of a social prodigy with keen insight into human psychology – displayed in his monumental seven volume opus A La Recherche du Temps Perdu (commonly translated as Remembrance of Things Past).

This was my first birthday gift to my wife-to-be, just weeks after we met, in 1988. Unknown-1We started reading it aloud to each other in the evenings, a few pages at a time – with some significant gaps in our dedication to the task. In the last few years we became more assiduous, and finally just finished.

I did most of the reading. It helped me comprehend better, and I enjoyed the challenge. The problem was that Proust is famous for his long, convoluted, digressive sentences – so one had to plunge into a sentence without knowing where it would go or what its logic would turn out to be, making course corrections of tone and inflection as one went along.

I had actually read it all before, after a friend strongly recommended it. But that didn’t help much, as it was in the ‘70s when I did not know, to use the technical terminology, my ass from my elbow. In particular, the topic of homosexuality pervades the work, but mostly that had gone right past me without really registering. Indeed, in part at least, this is indicative of how “under the radar” the whole gay thing was in those ancient times, in contrast to today.

One thing I did vividly remember, after slogging through all seven prolix volumes without, frankly, getting all that much out of them, was the ending. imagesTo be exact, the final passage – the final line – which even at the time struck me as a perfect, fitting coda. I didn’t remember the exact wording (something like “on the shoulders of Time”), but certainly recalled the feel of it, the sense of it, as well as the final word itself – Time, with a capital T.

So I was somewhat surprised when my wife and I at last reached the final line, without the dramatic thunk (or “shoulders”) I thought I’d remembered. Now, we were reading the C.K. Scott Moncrieff translation, as revised by Terence Kilmartin in 1981, the best known one; so naturally I wondered whether what I’d read before was simply a different translation. So I went online and learned that prior to 1980 there was only one other English translation, of the last volume only. It’s unlikely I read that; more likely what I had read before was the Scott Moncrieff version prior to Kilmartin’s revision. With some further effort I was able to find a different translation of the book’s ending, but that didn’t conform to my recollection either.

Unknown-2So I wind up simply confuzzled. A la Recherche, as the title suggests, is in the main a meditation upon memory. Be careful next time you insist you remember something with absolute certainty. The brain does not work that way. (See this further post about memory.)

Anyhow, at my wife’s behest, having after 27 years pretty much forgotten the book’s early chapters, we have started again from the beginning, albeit with the new translation of the first volume by Lydia Davis, which we got from her very own hands.

Next Door to the Dead: Poems, by Kathleen Driskell

August 20, 2015

(This is a guest posting, written by my wife, Therese L. Broderick, and appearing on her own poetry blog.)

Located on the same grounds where my father is buried, a nearby cemetery’s headquarters is the site for a variety of public discussions and activities. Once, I sat in attendance while a visiting lecturer explicated “One Art,” Elizabeth Bishop’s powerful poem of loss.

9780813165721Poetry has a long affiliation, of course, with human loss—our trivial daily relinquishments as well as that final and most consequential loss, our voyage from Life to Death. Conversely, poetry has also sung for thousands of years about that other voyage, that cosmic law-defying journey that only a few departed souls succeed in making: a safe return to the greening Earth from a stay in the barren Underworld. And yet, every contemporary poet who writes or vocalizes an elegy, dirge, ode, or threnody is performing that very miracle, resurrecting someone—however briefly— by means of a ritualized trinity (Art, Art’s subject matter, Art’s witness).

All these currents and more run through the eloquent, graceful, vivifying new book of fifty-one poems by Kathleen Driskell entitled Next Door to the Dead (The University Press of Kentucky, 2015). Over the next few days, this blog will focus on that highly admirable book. Today’s spotlight focuses on my own observations.

Conceptually, this impressive collection guides us first to a cemetery boundary, then through the gate, and then inside the graves in order to summon forth their spirits. Along this path, Next Door to the Dead unveils a cultural desecration, descending to that particular hell of funereal skullduggery. Thankfully, this talented poet knows how to guide us back to a proper reverence.

Humanistic as these poems are in orientation, they also honor the spiritual imagination, escorting the reader through multifarious encounters with disembodied personalities, some of them eternally in limbo. (The human lives envoiced in this book recall, for me, the personal dramas within The Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters.) These pages peopled with ‘’Border State” individuals—Kentuckian and/or everywhere existential—explore matter-of-fact loss, grievously tragic loss; witty epitaphs, profound laments; family tales, town gossip; occasional ceremonies, timeless myths; skeleton-closet celebrities, anonymous worthies; gods and clergy, saints and sinners; and the (perhaps fallacious) empathetic mourning of critters and Nature.

Kathleen Driskell

Kathleen Driskell

Those character portraits are made expansive and vivid by Kathleen Driskell’s talents for weaving the textures of lyrical narration, persona, and monologue. Also by her utterly trustworthy shaping, her dynamic phrasing, her melody of vowels plus peal of consonants, the palpable tug of her versified lines, her strikingly true turns-of-phrase, and her images both rooted and revelatory.

Much can be said about “Tchaenhotep,” the book’s extended signature piece. A probing and subversive journey, this poignant monologue arrives in the voice of a female mummy exhumed, displaced from an ancient Egyptian tomb to a modern American museum. The unlikely speaker lived as a marginalized woman, a proletariat. Her ancient chant-like accounting of her own commonplace virtues and vices is a time-tested paradigm for judging innocence and guilt.

This prominent poem, then, weighs the merits of all other poems, of memorial poetry in all forms. And also of how respectfully our surviving cultures redeem the crimes committed by our forebears. Just as importantly, of how fruitfully you and I the readers have spent our own days and decades.

Thankfully, the highly deserving poet Kathleen Driskell is an artist, not an evangelist for any single faith tradition. In Next Door to the Dead, she devotes her artistry to sanctifying the natural dignity of her subjects, renewing for us all a vision of communal care and understanding. Blessed be every single one of her neighbors, in-the-flesh or otherwise.

.

The Great Mutilated Coin Scam

June 27, 2015

“Waste, fraud and abuse.” How often we hear that from politicians promising to clean up government. I just roll my eyes, because if it were that simple, it would already have been done, right?

imagesBut government never seems able to stay one step ahead of con artists devising ways to rip it off. It isn’t rocket science. One major, common scam is filing phony income tax returns claiming refunds. And government, robotically, just mails out the checks. In one case over 500 separate tax refund checks went to a single mailbox . . . in Lithuania. You might think the government would have noticed something amiss, around, oh, the hundredth check. Nope.

All told, the U.S. government sent out an estimated $125 billion in improper payments last year.

As a numismatist, I read Coin World, and a recent issue headlined “Recyclers Target Mint With Fakes.” UnknownThe story began by noting “an elaborate scheme to bilk the U.S. Mint out of more than $5.4 million.” Doesn’t sound like that big a deal? But wait.

You see, the Mint has a program for reimbursement for mutilated coins turned in.

The Chinese version

The Chinese version

In this particular case, the coins proved to be counterfeits, originating in China where, of course, counterfeiting of everything is a major industry.

Coin World went on to report that “the purported mutilated U.S. coins [were found] to have been uniformly mutilated by mechanical means.” So first you manufacture the fake coins; then you mutilate them; then send them to the Mint for “reimbursement.” A nice business, getting 50 cents for a fake half dollar costing only a few cents to make. (Much easier than trying to pass all those coins in commerce.)

How could they possibly, with straight faces, explain the great quantities of mutilated U.S. coins turned in? The claim is that they’re found in junk cars being scrapped. It’s been calculated that every such car would have to yield $900 in mutilated coins to account for the totals submitted. Yeah, sure.

Still, $5.4 million may sound almost like chump change. But that was only one case. Coin World noted that as early as 2009, investigators with U.S. Customs and Border Protection were alerted to possible problems “based on the increased shipments of mutilated coins passing through the Port of Los Angeles.” images-1Yet the Mint continued to send out the checks – no questions asked.

Now here is the quote that really got my attention (from the complaint in the recent case filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lakshmi Srinavasan Herman): “Interestingly, United States Mint personnel also believe that more half dollars have been redeemed by China-sourced vendors in the last 10 years than the United States Mint has ever manufactured in its history.” (My emphasis)

Unknown-2God bless Uncle Sam – what a soft touch. This is what we pay taxes for.

 

Poetry Performance, May 6, Caffe Lena

May 3, 2015

Scan 2My wife, Therese Broderick, and I will be the featured poets at Caffe Lena on Wednesday, May 6 — we’re pleased to appear on such a distinguished stage where the likes of Bob Dylan and Allen Ginsburg have preceded us.

Caffe Lena is at 47 Phila Street, Saratoga Springs. There will also be an open mic, sign-up starting at 7 PM; the readings begin at 7:30. Admission $5. The event is sponsored by Northshire Bookstore.

Used Book Sale Review

October 28, 2014

images-2I love used book sales. Locally, the Schenectady and East Greenbush libraries have great ones. Both are (to quote a local car dealer’s ads) huuuge. Schenectady’s is very well organized by category; while what distinguishes the Greenbush sale is a lot of books in new condition, excellent for gifts.

The latest was Greenbush. It starts on a Thursday from 5 to 8:30 PM. Previously I’ve gone on Thursday, knowing these sales get pillaged fast, so it pays to be early. But books cost $2 on the Thursday ($1 afterwards), the rush hour traffic is terrible, the parking impossible, and the room overcrowded. So this time I decided to go easy and waited till Friday morning.

images-4I’m always amazed at what other people take, often baffling choices. I primarily look for ancient history and archaeology, which few others seem to want. So even on the Friday I still found 43 books, a pretty good haul.

These ancient history books I sell. It started serendipitously years ago when I received a box of such books from one of my customers together with some ancient coins to sell. “What the heck will I do with these books?” I thought. Well, I listed them in one of my coin auctions and they did quite nicely. So ever since, I’ve been buying and selling that stuff.

I also watch for poetry books for my wife, which is generally pointless because she is very advanced and I am a poetry naif (we argue regularly over whether Invictus is a good poem). I saw one general book about poetics that looked promising; I opened it at random and my eye fell on four words: “If Byron had rhymed . . . .“ Not for my wife.

Unknown-1And I also seek books to actually read. At this point, those I see come mainly in two categories: ones I’ve read, and ones I don’t want to read. This time I strangely had a bee in my bonnet for Karen Russell’s Swamplandia!, which I recalled had gotten stellar reviews. You’d think a best-selling book like that would turn up, but I didn’t find it. (I did find two more copies of Stacy Schiff’s Cleopatra, a good item for group lots in my auctions. I’d been impressed at how much buzz Schiff was able to gin up for this publication, which was far from the first one about that 2,000 year old gal. I recommended it to one of my book groups; but found it disappointing.

There were innumerable copies of Eat, Pray, Love, another book group book I really disliked. images-6And the tables were just groaning with David Baldacci, book after book after fat book. What is it with David Baldacci? He’s not even on my radar screen. Likewise Dean Koontz, Jodi Picoult, James Patterson; enough of their books to sink a battleship.

But I did find a few: Richard Russo’s Bridge of Sighs (I’ve reviewed his memoir, Elsewhere); Tea Obreht’s The Tiger’s Wife (remembering rave reviews); Maya Angelou’s I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings; and, lest you think I’m highbrow, Alan Alda’s Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself, and Maureen Dowd’s Are Men Necessary? (After reading it, I’ll let you know the verdict).

imagesAnd I did snag one true treasure: the rare 1973 first edition of Albany’s O’Connell Machine. Unfortunately lacking the dust jacket; I don’t even own one with an intact dust jacket. (Recently, on the radio news, I enjoyed hearing our new Mayor on some political shenanigans, saying it was just like what she’s been reading about in a book on the O’Connell Machine published back in 1973.)

Talk about ancient history! Makes me feel kind of ancient myself. images-3

June 3-4, 1989

June 3, 2014

images-1

Cheryl Strayed: Wild

April 16, 2014

imagesThis best-selling memoir relates Cheryl Strayed’s 1995 1100-mile Pacific Crest Trail hike, from lower California through Oregon. I’d urged it on one of my book groups, but an outdoorsy member objected vehemently: “You don’t go on such a hike as unprepared as she was. It’s just stupid.”

I finally persuaded her that the stupidity was actually what the book was partly about, so we read it.Unknown-2

Strayed, then 26, was kind of messed up, from her mother’s death, her recent divorce, and a heavy heroin bout. She embarked on this extreme hike – without much relevant experience – hoping to find herself. Or something.

Well, she wasn’t totally unprepared; in fact, did quite a lot of planning and prep work, including acquiring a ton of gear, and arranging a series of resupply boxes to be mailed to her along the route. But for all the actually meticulous planning, she did stupidly omit something obvious: a trial run.

“Ton of gear” was a slight overstatement, but only slight. The book describes her organizing it in her motel room the day before starting out, cataloguing all the items. While reading, I’m thinking, “how much does all this weigh?”

Unknown-1So she gets it all packed into (and dangling from) her huge backpack, which is sitting on the floor, and only now, for the first time, tries to lift it. Guess what? Can’t budge it an inch.

Well, somehow Strayed did manage to maneuver what she dubbed “Monster” onto her back, and even to stand up, and walk with it. Eventually a more experienced hiker she meets on the trail persuades her to offload some of her excess burden.

The other obvious (even to me) thing you’d want to test out beforehand is how the boots fit. Fairly critical, you’d think. They seemed to fit fine, in the store. On the trail, not so much.

In fact, the book startlingly opens with her accidentally losing a boot over a cliff edge. One boot being useless, she then throws the other over too.images-1

But later we learn this wasn’t as disastrous as it might seem. The ill-fitting boots were from a company called REI, and after suffering in them for hundreds of miles, wrecking her feet, another hiker tells Strayed to call REI and they’ll send her a larger pair, free. She did, and they did. So after losing the first pair, she managed to hobble on makeshift duct-taped sandals to the next settlement to collect the replacement boots.

Unsurprisingly, Strayed has some glowing words for REI and its customer service. This points up something I’ve stressed often. With all the “corporate-this, corporate-that” invective, many people view businesses in general as impersonal malefactors caring only for profits. And admittedly some are. But this ignores a basic aspect of the human character, and businesses are human enterprises. Most people don’t want to see themselves as evil but, rather, as doing good.

Thus REI’s kind of customer service is not in fact uncommon. (I’ve mentioned my terrific experience with 48 Hour Books.) Many businesses realize it’s actually good for the bottom line. In the long run, it’s those behaving like REI and 48 Hour that succeed and prosper. And, if you think about it, the great majority of your interactions with businesses are altogether positive.

But competition is a crucial factor here. I’ve also written of my less-than-terrific experience with enterprises that don’t really have to compete for my dollar (eBay and the Postal Service). That’s why I’m a believer in free market economics. Any government intervention should aim at greater competition, but too often actually undermines it (by aiding some businesses to the detriment of others).

Unknown-3Another company Strayed lauds is Snapple, whose lemonade was a sublime treat at civilization stops after long hiking stretches. Likewise she makes the reader almost salivate at how luscious a cheeseburger tasted on such occasions. images-2This points up another of my pet themes: how we take civilization and its benefits for granted. Cheryl Strayed, after a couple of weeks roughing it, most certainly did not. Coming out of the woods, a Snapple lemonade and a cheeseburger were for her a Very Big Deal.

So, did the hike straighten out her life? As we used to say in grade school book reports, read Wild and find out.

Finally, you might ask, is there any sex in it? There is. Only one episode, really. But hot enough that it made me put the book down and go looking for my wife.

My Love Poems

April 7, 2014

April is National Poetry Month. So – having authored a novel as well as books about politics, coin collecting, and what I hubristically call philosophy – it’s time for my poetry book.

Microsoft Word - LOVE POEMS cover copy.docxMy wife Therese Broderick is the real poet in the family, with a degree and everything. When she started going to open mikes, I’d go with her. So much left-wing stuff, I once remarked. She replied, “You should do some right-wing poetry.” Not that I’m really “right-wing.” But I tried; it was very hard; the left has all the good tropes. So my first effort was, actually, a parody of a lefty rant. In fact I titled it “Rant.” After I read it at an open mike, one gal gushed that she loved it. I didn’t have the heart to ask if she realized it was a satire.

But my poetry book is apolitical. I had also started giving my wife poems for birthdays and anniversaries and like occasions. This past Valentine’s Day she surprised me with an album housing all those poems that she’d kept – and encouraged me to publish them.IMG_3211

The edgy and imaginative title is Love Poems. (I preferred Love & Sex Poems, but wifey said no.) It contains 37 poems and poem-like things. Some are indeed sexy, some serious, some sappy, some silly (this is called “alliteration,” it’s a poetic device), and a few in Spanish (which my wife has been studying. My own high school Spanish being pretty rusty, I took it as a challenge to see what I could do with a limited vocabulary; though I may have cheated a bit using Google Translate.)

This beautiful book (well, the binding and printing are beautiful at least; done by 48 Hour Books, I can’t recommend them highly enough) is attractively priced at just $3.99; plus $1 mailing cost (within USA; Paypal OK; e-mail frank@fsrcoin.com; address Box 8600, Albany, NY 12208).

But here is a free sample – this one was for Therese’s Fifty-first birthday:

THERESE 5.1

The latest version!
New and improved!
Fully updated and state-of-the art,
Retaining all the best features
Of the previous versions,
While fixing, of course,
Their bugs and glitches.
I want to launch you on my desktop,
With soft mouse clicks,
Through my fingers
That caress your icon,
My face pressed up
Against the screen,
My eyes devouring
Your luscious code,
Stripped down to
Its naked noughts and ones;
I want to penetrateUnknown
Your open logic gate,
You killer app, you.
I can hardly wait
For Therese 5.2

 

 

 

Women, Bad Boys, and Contingency in Life

February 14, 2014

images-2My Valentine’s Day post–

I’ve written before of my difficulties getting it on with women. Being such a rationalist, I thought the way to go about it was to treat them nicely. Silly clueless me. I didn’t grasp the attraction of bad boys. Excitement. Danger. Trouble. It can be like catnip to women. But I was constitutionally incapable of acting the bad boy. Except for one time . . . .

In April 1975, I had a dental appointment. The usual receptionist was away; the dentist’s young daughter was filling in. UnknownShe seemed pleasant. So after the novocain wore off, I phoned and asked her out. Her name was Pam.

Now, what I mean by “contingency” is how our lives hang by slender threads of probability – or, rather, improbability. Of course it was chance that the receptionist was out that day. And I was seeing that dentist only because, years before, I’d happened to date a girl named Noreen, and somehow the subject came up, and she’d recommended him.

Unknown-1More contingency: on the First of that April in ’75 (“hardly a man is now alive”), while out walking, I had seen a girl shlepping stuff. Maybe fifteen seconds, either way, and our paths wouldn’t have crossed. But they did, she looked hot, so I offered to help her, moving into a big apartment building on my block, that was full of single girls. Its official name was “The Willett.” I called it the Cockteaser Building.

So I pestered this chick, Donna, for a date, she was indifferent, but eventually let me take her to a party she wanted to go to. images-3Soon after our arrival, Donna was draped in the lap of another guy. Soon after that, I told her I’d called a cab. Our ride back was silent.

I am deeply ashamed to say I nevertheless continued to pursue Donna. (She was a looker.) I took her out to dinner. She brought a book along. I said, “You must be expecting a dull evening.” And indeed, at the restaurant, she opened the book. I told her to put it away, and she complied; but again silence descended. Back at the Cockteaser Building, I finally gave Donna my candid evaluation. She just shrugged and walked away.

Contingency: this whole Donna debacle was significant only because at that party, the host, seeing the situation, had taken me aside, and said, “This girl’s no good. I know someone better for you.”

Unknown-3Her name was Christina, and she was a whirlwind entering my life. Our relationship seemed to go off like fireworks.

Now, remember Pam, the dentist’s daughter? My date with her hadn’t yet happened. But so bedazzled by Christina was I, that I decided to just blow off Pam. I called her and cancelled – and gave the reason with insouciant, brutal candor. “You’ll survive,” I may even have said. Totally out of character.

Well, needless to say, the Christina thing, having gone off like a firecracker, quickly fizzled out like one. Unknown-6Leaving me, a month later, sitting glumly and very much alone in my room.

The phone rings. “Hi, it’s Pam,” the cheery voice says. Why on Earth would  she be calling me? But, after some meaningless chit-chat, she asks me out.

No girl had ever done that. And none had I ever treated so callously. Christina’s mind-warping effect had turned me, momentarily at least, into a bad boy – and that made me (in contrast to my normal milquetoast persona) intriguing and attractive to Pam. She’d apparently spent the ensuing month obsessing about me and psyching herself up for her wildly gutsy phone call.

So my relationship with Pam started on a completely different footing from any preceding one. And, unlike all those others, it lasted – twelve years.

Not all of those years were wonderful. Ten were not. Two were excruciating. But they got me to the place where, on May 2, 1988, I found the girl of my dreams and the love of my life, Therese.

imagesContingency: Noreen, Donna, Christina, Pam, Therese. Every link in the chain was necessary. No Noreen, no dentist; no Donna, no Christina; no Christina, no bad boy; no bad boy, no 12 years of Pam; no 12 years, no Therese.* Thank you, Donna!

Oh; and yes, Therese lived in the Cockteaser Building. And no, I didn’t act the bad boy with her.

* There was actually a further contingency: after Pam left, I came within a half inch of marrying someone else; only a fluke intervened. But that’s another story.

Momma’s Boy: “Elsewhere” by Richard Russo

January 26, 2014

UnknownRichard Russo is a novelist, author of Nobody’s Fool, Empire Falls, and other major works. Elsewhere is a memoir. He should have called it Momma’s Boy.

Russo’s actual title is a backhanded reference to his childhood home town, Gloversville, NY, which figures prominently in the book — “elsewhere” is where he’d much rather be. But the book is mainly centered upon Russo’s mother, Jean. As indeed was he, for most of his life.

Jean worked for GE; though we’re never told precisely what her job was, it was apparently a good one, making her that ‘50s-60s rara avis, a career girl. images-4Russo mentions several times her picture in a slick GE magazine — the epitome of a stylish woman.

Russo’s father, a feckless gambler and boozer, jumped ship early. But Russo kept some contact with him, and eventually he relates that, about age 21, his dad told him, “You know your mother is nuts, right?” It was meant literally, and Russo did know, though it was a shock to confront the truth so bluntly. Yet Russo continued to treat his deeply involved relationship with Jean as the most natural thing in the world.

Their fateful Rubicon was a cross-country trip Russo made, to go to college, in Arizona — with Jean deciding to come along, making it their joint escape from hated Gloversville. She said, and maybe believed, a job was awaiting her at an Arizona GE facility. Not so; and that was when Russo began to realize his mom was “off-kilter.”

images-3But for the next four decades Russo was a B’rer Rabbit stuck to the tar baby of Jean and her idiosyncrasies — though he seemed oddly quite fine with it. This didn’t change with his young marriage to Barbara. There were really, as Princess Di famously said of her own situation, three in the marriage. images-5The book tells us very little about Barbara (which itself is telling), but she must have been either a saint or a masochist to put up with the supervening role that Jean, and Jean’s issues, played in their lives.

A particular torture was finding apartments for Jean, because so many it can’t be this and it can’t be thats did she posit that rare indeed was the apartment she’d agree to occupy. So Russo spent a major chunk of his life apartment hunting for his mother. And even seemingly perfect ones usually wouldn’t work out. And then, when at long last, he’s actually managed to get Jean well settled in a place she likes — he decides, for not very compelling reasons, to move the family. I was thinking, “This is nuts.” (As did Russo himself, before long.)

Richard Russo

Richard Russo

But “this is nuts” was a recurring thought of mine throughout the book. My own relationship with my parents (and, indeed, with my daughter) was/is frankly toward the other end of the spectrum. At least I haven’t had the kind of intergenerational conflicts that afflict so many people; but nor the depth of intimacy in Elsewhere. Only with my wife do I have such a close relationship. But maybe this is not exactly “normal” either. And while I was contrasting Russo’s situation against my own, I tried to refrain from judging his as bad or wrong. Russo didn’t see it that way, and after all it was his his life, which he actually seemed to find rewarding in a way, and missed when that aspect of it ended.

After Jean’s death, Russo’s daughter has a bout of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder; and when he reads up on it, he realizes that’s what Jean had too. And that he had handled it the wrong way, as an enabler, rather than trying to get her proper treatment. His retrospective feelings about his mother become mixed with guilt.

Only once, toward the end, does he ever say he loved her. But “love” is too simple a word anyway. Our connections with other people are tangled with complexities, and that’s what our lives are really all about. images-6In Richard Russo’s case, the focus of all that was his mother; that’s what his life was mainly about. It may not be exactly the kind of life that you or I would wish to live, but we’re not him, and his was, for all its seeming weirdness, a quintessentially human life and, in its way, a rich one.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,420 other followers