Running for Your Life: Trump as President? US as Haiti?

It may be too much of a stretch … how far is the question but … I couldn’t help but substitute the name DONALD J. TRUMP for MICHEL MARTELY, who stepped down this month as president of the island nation, and the US for HAITI in this illuminating look at the current state of affairs of Haiti by the writer Jon Lee Anderson in the most recent New Yorker magazine

Interesting reading as the votes are piling up this afternoon (Feb. 9) in the Democratic and Republican presidential primaries in New Hampshire.

Next: Running for Your Life: After New Hampshire

Running for Your Life: Alan Bennett !

Alan Bennett, playwright and sublime diarist, submits enough entries per year to the London Review of Books to merit the annual subscription to the print edition (am a firm believer in reading work like Bennett’s on newsprint; one pays for one’s luxuries these days).

This recent diary entry . . .

11 Sept. 2015:
“Smart to [British Prime Minister David Cameron] seems to mean doing as little as one can get away with and calling it enterprise. Smart as in smart alec, smart of the smart answer, which I’ve sure David Cameron has to hand. Dead smart.”

. . . spurred this nugget of a poem (M and I were in Miami for a bit of rest and relaxation that was buffeted by windy 50 degree weather and drenched by monsoon-like rain.)

Dead smart

Tornados in west and central Florida

Alan Bennett Diary wisdom

how he writes of “dead smart;”

nostalgia  piled high in a

serving dish to spread

like French butter

over all, literally all

pray to inoculate against

the “dead smart” scrolls.

Next: Running for Your Life: After New Hampshire

Running for Your Life: Thurber !

The boys are back on the road …. ! I’m happy – and Thurber too – to report that my knees feel secure enough to take my redbone companion back out on the Prospect Park roads for at least a once-a-week jaunt.

That’s about four miles of jogging, and even though my devoted mutt had not been out with me for months and had to be literally champing at the bit, he did do me the solid of taking it easy on me.

In what I recognize is a misty-eyed view, I find myself thinking that Thurber – who heretofore in the years we have run together has pulled hard on the leash, yanking me uncomfortably as he surged ahead, especially in the beginning, which raised some doubts in me about the wisdom of taking the chance by running with him while my healing isn’t yet at one hundred percent – ran by my side on purpose. That he was keyed in to just how fast and vigorous I could run and that he adjusted his pace to accommodate me.

Whatever, as the kids say. We’re back. I may not be running a marathon this year, but I’ll be running with my dog !

Next: Running for Your Life: After New Hampshire

Running for Your Life: If the Greats Were With Us Thursday

What do you do for openers, Patrick White (1912-1990)? If you’re interested in one of the truly gifted novelists, get a load of these first words. With a shoutout to John Blanton who turned me on to the power of Patrick’s prose.

The old woman’s head was barely fretting against the pillow. She could have moaned slightly.
        The Eye of the Storm

“There is a man here, miss, asking for your uncle,” said Rose.
And stood breathing.

As the carriage drew back from Circular Wharf, Mr. Stafford Merivale tapped the back of his wife’s hand and remarked that they had done their duty.
        Fringe of Leaves

And my favorite:

A cart drove between the two big stringybarks and stopped. These were the dominant trees in that part of the bush, rising above the involved scrub with the simplicity of true grandeur. So the cart stopped, grazing the hairy side of a tree, and the horse, shaggy and stolid as the tree, sighed and took root.
        Tree of Man

Next: Running for Your Life: Thurber!

Running for Your Life: Sentences on Fire

You may have missed it, but “City on Fire” was the US literary publishing event of last year – according to all the most important press (the New Yorker, the New York Times – not the Post, I’m proud to say, whose headline called it “A steaming pile of literary dung.” Or in text, “The only thing ‘City on Fire’ will burn up is the remainder tables”).

In her review of the steaming pile, which set back the publisher a cool $2 million, critic Elisabeth Vincentelli gives us cause to feel the way she does by quoting a sentence from the book itself, to wit:

“Against the flames, Felicia’s body was a smudge, save for her mask, whose red sequins shimmered intelligently.”

Two months later, a second critic, Carmen Petaccio, delivers the goods in The Awl. This you have read to believe. For hours of giggly fun, click here:

As to my personal favorites of Petaccio’s literature police takedown, consider:

“The sun over Jersey was medium rare.”

“Hairs snowed crimson on the formica.”

“Looks like you got a real shitstorm on your hands, Pulaski.”

And the piece de resistance of schadenfreude delight,

“Great rolls of toilet paper arc like ejaculate through the black sycamores.”

Next: Running for Your Life: If the Greats Were With Us Thursday