Distribution Automatique

Tuesday, March 1

The Unbearable Lightness of Blogging

I've had occasion to mention that the Grand Army Plaza
branch of the Brooklyn Public Library is just a short
walk through Prospect Park from where I live now. Also,
since I've been travelling by subway to my Manhattan
office, I've gotten back into reading fiction, which is
the perfect activity for a train ride. Once or twice, I've
been so focused on my book, I've missed my stop.

Today I was browsing the "new fiction" shelves,
which has become a second home for me. Reading
fiction has somewhat cut into my blog time and
has almost completely eliminated watching t.v.- an
activity I never liked much anyway (except for the
Jon Stewart show, of course).

I noticed the woman checking out the shelf next
to me had a book in her hand I had just read and
checked back in a few days ago. The book,
*The Society of Others* is by William Nicholson,
the author of *Shadowlands*, one of Anthony
Hopkins' more run-of-the-mill movies,
(I take books out of the library by the dozen
and read only a handful of them). But this one
I read in a night or two, and then promptly forgot
about. But when I saw the book in my library
neighbor's hand, I blurted out: "That's a fabulous
book." She said, "Thank you," in a demure, but
grateful way, and we went back to our separate
searches. But then I thought about what I had just said
(I hadn't realized how much I had enjoyed the book)
and I thought about a few other things too.

I thought about the fact that books, libraries
and bookstores have always been my life's
blood, my home away from home. I noticed
I had dwelled on this a bit in my recent interview
with Tom Beckett. I realized, as I thought about
this further, that books, for me, are essentially
links, a way back to other people. They are a way
of being with people, thinking about them, wondering
about them, while also being somewhat away from
them. The are a bridge, Toni reminded me, and then
I thought again of Donald Winnicott's concept of
the "transitional object." Books are such objects
in the best possible way, because they offer
both a refuge and a mode of connection,
disconnection and reconnection,
and a center for concentration
and contemplation of self and others

Anyway, you can check out the first chapter of
the book at First Chapters-NY Times {click here}


Gary, Nada, Toni and I enjoyed a day together at
Central Park this past Sunday checking out the Christo/Jeanne-Claude Gates. On the way up there on the train, Gary helped
me figure out how to use my
(relatively) new digital camera, since
he has a very similar one of the same brand. It was
fun to do this and I mentioned to him that I wondered
why it was that it is so much easier to figure things out
like this with someone else. Gary remarked simply-
"That's just the way it is. People need to do things like
this with other people." There it is again- just about
everything we do, everything we have and enjoy or love (also)
serves as a bridge, as a gate between us. Maybe it's
true, as someone said, that "good fences make good neighbors."
But the fact is, one of the most fascinating aspects
of it all is how these things
reconnect us; as Gary said, "this is how people are."
Gary reminded me also on this trip
that he had mentioned me among
his "influences"-I appreciated this-
and was reminded how much I had enjoyed Gary's
blog about the history of his influences, including
some photos of the books that had
been important to him, as well as a photo
of Nada.


One of the books I took out earlier today was:
*The Unbearable Lightness of Being*
by Milan Kundera. The least I could do is read
the book, the title of which
I've been enjoying for years - and have recently have
been, in a way, (respectfully) parodying, for this column,
as you can see.


Time to go- the Jon Stewart show
is on now.