August 30, 2006

Let Them Eat Cake

I hate when someone asks me what my favourite book is, or author, or actor, or comedian, or song, and I can't remember.

I mean, I can start listing bunches of stuff, but then a day or month later, I'll see the someone or something I totally forgot about. My cluttered mind is losing things, like an overloaded truck dropping bits of this and that as it trundles down the highway.

Yes, I love Jon Stewart, and Ellen Degeneres, and assorted others. But how come I keep forgetting Bob Newhart? And Carol Burnett? I've loved them forever, and I let them slip away.

I slot favourite writers in and out like a kid at a gumball machine with a fistful of nickels. But when I instinctively reach for Alice Munro or Anne Tyler or Jonathan Franzen or Oscar Wilde or Rita Mae Brown or John Irving or Carol Shields or Martin Amis or Jane Austen, depending on whether I want to laugh or cry, lose myself forever or find myself again, I know I have a stable. And yes, Arlene, even Hemingway now.

I can't read fast enough to find them all. Great writing is art, and it's timeless. We waste so many precious moments on the uninspired musings of the museless uninspired. You know what I mean.

I think I need a book of the week club; a musical artist of the week club; a movie of the week club. I need to start making a list of all the wonderful things that are slipping past me, and make a committed effort to read and listen and watch things that champion excellence.

We all spend far too much time eating icing.


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