I Remember Everything

As a writer currently immersed in the genre of memoir, I took an interest in Nora Ephron’s latest offering called I Remember Nothing. Given the few reviews I’ve read, the title is accurate.  Ephron likes to celebrate the personal and her current gala is about how she’s handling aging.  Sure it ain’t pretty, but do we really need another set of bad quips and feeble attempts at humor to remind us.  Yet this lightweight volume gets all the press and attention a publicist can offer.

You know that old cliche about the 1960s: “If you remember anything about the 60s, you weren’t there.”   I beg to differ.  I remember everything and I was there.  With that in mind, it seems to me it takes a mighty dose of chutzpah to write a memoir with Ms. Ephron’s title.  How does this little volume get published anyway?  I fear I know the answer, and you do too.

Some of the readers of Ephron’s book are demanding their money back.  Some actually paid full hardcover price.  One disgruntled customer suggested that Nora Ephron’s fans get a latte, sit down in your favorite bookstore with chairs and consume both simultaneously.  Apparently that’s the time it takes.

If life isn’t fair, then trying to get a book published is just as big a crapshoot.  But then you knew that.  No sour grapes please.  Just remember to remember and then write it all down.

Random Act of Kindness

An icy rain chills us in Portland tonight. My daughter and I stand on the corner waiting for a light. Rain drips down my hair, into my neck, and I shrug deeper in my coat. My daughter’s hand feels like a puckered fish. All I can concentrate on is that I need the interminably long light to turn so that we can race into her Taekwondo class.

I’m so focused on willing the light to turn, on running into a warm room, that I almost don’t see the elderly man on the other side of the street. He is creeping down the crosswalk, an enormous clear plastic bag floating over his head like a strange astronaut’s helmet, or a jellyfish. I only really notice him after I see a man in a t-shirt racing toward him and catching him by the arm. I wonder why the guy running only has a t-shit on in this weather, and then I notice the old man, notice how weak he looks and I think to myself good, that guy is helping the old man. I would have helped him, but he’s being helped, so . . .

Then the guy in the t-shirt runs off. He runs off and my light turns. I hurry across the street as the elderly man continues his crablike walk down the sidewalk, and I reason with myself. We’re late for my daughter’s class, I don’t have an umbrella, I don’t, I can’t . . .

And then a Pizzicato Pizza minivan pulls up next to the elderly man, the t-shirted guy at the wheel. And I realize that this employee has seen the elderly man from his store window, has left his job, gotten his work van, and offered a stranger a ride home on a night when ice needles spear the ground.

As I open the door to the Taekwondo class, I look back to see the t-shirted guy helping the frail man into the front of the van. I duck into the dry gym and am warmed by the realization that I’ve just witnessed an honest, random act of kindness.  Pushed back, with the memory of the rain, is the guilt that it wasn’t mine.

No Jukebox (Poetry)

A Guttery Great at Tony’s Tavern

Veteran’s Day 2010No Jukebox (Poetry) Adventure at Tony’s Tavern.  Tony’s Tavern pulsed with poetry not song last night when David Cooke stood in as guest MC.  Guttery members featured here all took a turn.

MC Great David Cooke

Jennifer Lesh Fleck's Portland Debut

Kip Silverman's Portland Debut

Carrie-Ann Tkaczyk