Where Michael Kinsley Meets William Faulkner; or, The Beat Goes On

“The danger is in the neatness of identifications,” Beckett said in “Dante…Bruno.Vico..Joyce,” and “literary criticism is not book-keeping.” Perhaps a certain kind of journalism is book-keeping, the kind that embeds meaning in pre-packaged classifications, designations that deprive individuals of their unique character by assigning them to a group, where they are given a number. I […]

Where John Cage Lip-synchs with Lloyd Thaxton while Playing Guitar Hero

“Follow your bliss,” Joseph Campbell advised, while Humanities instructors encourage students to “write about your passion.” But what if we find ourselves blissless and passionless? Or if we are passionate about anything, the last thing we want to do is to write about it, for that will suck the passion right out of the marrow. […]

An Argument of Definition: A Definition of Argument; or, The Light Without the Light Within

Have you ever read something and thought, I am not alone – there’s someone else here on the island with me. Someone has been speaking to me, and for me; I just maybe have not been listening in the right places. Personal essays are “arguments”; they are not “creative non-fiction.” On the contrary, the research […]

Where Listening Gives Rise to Silence and Fizzles

There lived in our neighborhood some time ago a locally famous pianist who enjoyed great demand for piano lessons from parents for their children. The demand was such that a prospective student had to interview with the teacher. One of the interview “questions” involved listening to chords: the child identified a chord as “happy” or […]

Ruth Reichl Comforts with Apples, Beckett with Words

“How’s the carrot?” Vladimir asks. “It’s a carrot,” Estragon replies….“That’s what annoys me….I’ll never forget this carrot.” If a food writer describes an ice cream cone with such description that we can taste it – ah, but that’s just the problem, we can’t taste words. Words have shape, perhaps even texture. They fill our mouths, […]

Where Crossan’s historical meets Beckett’s hysterical Jesus

Crossan finds Jesus living on the wrong side of the tracks – among the politically oppressed and the socially shamed, low class cynics roaming homeless camps. Beckett’s Waiting for Godot begins with a gospel attestation analysis by Vladimir: Vladimir: One out of four. Of the other three two don’t mention any thieves at all and […]