Mar 14, 2012

Reasons to Live

Last post today, I promise.
I'll level out soon. But I am really glad to be back doing this.
Next time I post something, it will be a full-fledged piece. Coming soon.

Among the Extraordinary Moments in Human History Are These Events. They are comparatively small perhaps, but large in the sense of the human spirit itself... and somehow as striking as small poignant knives straight to my little heart addled with the mystique of celebrity.

1. When he was just starting out as a doctor and trying to make a name for himself, Frederick Treves (London physician, savior of the Elephant Man) would get up every morning at 5 or 6 to answer correspondence and settle personal papers before beginning his ample day's work.

2. In the last interview he gave before he committed suicide, Kurt Cobain confided how lost and overwhelmed he felt by his own fame. He said that people kept feeding him "fine French meals" when all he really wanted was some macaroni and cheese.

3. Salvador Dali, as a young man in his twenties who had just had sex for the first time (with Gala, his lifelong muse) and was making great shakes with the Surrealists of Paris, was officially banished from his father's house. So he shaved his head, buried his black hair on the beach along with the urchin shells from his lunch, and then sat under some olive trees on a hill overlooking Cadaques for hours... "contemplating that panorama of my childhood, of my adolescence, and of my present."

4. Hubert Selby Jr., a poor and nearly-unknown working-class Brooklyn writer, was so happy when he finally received a cane issued to him by the state of New York. He was an old man at the time, with ensuing health problems. He kept telling his friends, "Finally! Finally the government did something for me!"

5. Sammy Davis Jr. was born in Harlem and died in Beverly Hills.

6. Liza Minnelli howled out "We Are the Champions" with the remainder of Queen at a stadium-sized tribute concert to Freddie Mercury. It was magnificently sweet and as over-the-top as anyone could ever hope for. Afterwards, before the final guitar blast and crescendo of jubilation, she called out to the sky: "Hi Freddie! Just wanted to let you know that we're thinking about you. Stay safe!" Like an aunt's answering-machine message. Blam. Feel-good roar.

7. Frank Sinatra's last words were, "I'm losing."

8. The last words that William S. Burroughs ever wrote, in his journal (published as Last Words: The Final Journals in 2001), were: "Love? What is it? The most natural pain-killer what there is. LOVE." 

Moments like these are why I will never get bored or dispassionate writing non-fiction.

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