Reunions And Changing Persons

A couple of weeks ago, in a reunion of sorts, I had lunch with some folks I to went high school with; six of us attended. Out of the attendees, I was meeting three after a gap of thirty-four years. This is the longest interval of time in my life between two meetings with theContinue reading “Reunions And Changing Persons”

Virginia Woolf On Autobiography And Not Writing ‘Directly About The Soul’

In Inspiration and Obsession in Life and Literature, (New York Review of Books, 13 August, 2015), Joyce Carol Oates writes: [Virginia] Woolf suggests the power of a different sort of inspiration, the sheerly autobiographical—the work created out of intimacy with one’s own life and experience….What is required, beyond memory, is a perspective on one’s ownContinue reading “Virginia Woolf On Autobiography And Not Writing ‘Directly About The Soul’”

Writing And Therapy

Writing can be therapeutic. Not just autobiography and memoir, the obvious venues of this particular kind of clinic; letters, novels, short stories, poems, screenplays, can all enable a ‘working through‘ because they call upon a kind of ‘remembering,’ a dynamic ‘free association,’ unprompted and unbidden, that trawls through the various levels and layers of ourContinue reading “Writing And Therapy”

On Bad Memories And Moving On

A few weeks ago, while stumbling around on Facebook, I found an old ‘acquaintance’ of mine: a man who, over thirty years ago, went to the same boarding school as I did. I poked around further; his page was not guarded by his privacy settings from snoops like me. On it, I found a groupContinue reading “On Bad Memories And Moving On”

The Endless Surprises Of Memory

Memory is a truly wondrous thing. A couple of weeks ago, I met an old friend’s younger brother for lunch in midtown Manhattan; we were meeting after over thirty years. We ordered food, grabbed our trays, and headed to a table, our conversation already picking up pace as we did so. We talked about ourContinue reading “The Endless Surprises Of Memory”

The Mixed Pleasures Of Attending Our Own Memorial Service

Wanting to attend our own funerals, our own memorial services, is a fantasy with a long and distinguished pedigree. (As is the associated fantasy of wanting to read our own obituaries.) With good reason. If things have worked out well, many of our friends and family members will be there, hopefully all well-dressed. Importantly, weContinue reading “The Mixed Pleasures Of Attending Our Own Memorial Service”

Why It’s Okay To Mourn, To Cry For, The Passing Of Strangers

Many silly things are written when celebrities die. One is that you cannot speak ill of the dead. Another is that you cannot mourn for those whom you did not know personally. A variant of this is that visible expressions of grief for those you did not have personal acquaintance with are ersatz, inauthentic, aContinue reading “Why It’s Okay To Mourn, To Cry For, The Passing Of Strangers”

Richard Holmes On Biography’s ‘Physical Pursuit’ Of Its Subjects

In an essay describing his biographical work on Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Richard Holmes writes: [A] biography is…a handshake….across time, but also across cultures, across beliefs, across disciplines, across genders, and across ways of life. It is an act of friendship. It is a way of keeping the biographer’s notebook open, on both sides of thatContinue reading “Richard Holmes On Biography’s ‘Physical Pursuit’ Of Its Subjects”

Adam Phillips On “The Leavisite Position” On Reading

In the course of his Paris Review interview on the Art of Non-Fiction (No. 7, conducted  by Paul Holdengräber) Adam Phillips says: If you happen to like reading, it can have a very powerful effect on you, an evocative effect….It’s not as though when I read I’m gathering information, or indeed can remember much of what I read. IContinue reading “Adam Phillips On “The Leavisite Position” On Reading”

Of Cricket Fans And Memoirs

Last week, I sent in the draft manuscript for my next book–“a memoirish examination of the politics of cricket fandom”–to the editors at Temple University Press. The book, whose description, not title, I have indicated above, will now be reviewed, revised and then finally rolled off the presses as part of the series Sporting, editedContinue reading “Of Cricket Fans And Memoirs”