For days I have been trying to remember Russell Baker’s name. I am currently reading a book by Russell Banks, which is very good, so the same initials with similar names initiated a search of the deep recesses of the cranial archives. Trust me, there is a plethora of useless trivia stored in there and the dust is enough to suffocate a person.
Last night as I was lying abed, snuggled in the flannel sheets, reading Rule of the Bone, it came to me; a brilliant recovery of buried memory, RUSSELL BAKER! I reminded myself not to forget. The mind works, or not, of its own accord.
I read Growing Up as a very young adult, possibly as a teenaged adult, and I LOVED every word of it. I followed Mr. Baker’s columns strictly for his admirable writing skill. I follow Calvin Trillin’s work for the same reason. Both writers are wonderfully clever with their intimate knowledge of language. Neither of them chooses to drop gratuitous F bombs in his own work and both are effectively shocking journalists working within the self-imposed strictures of polite discord.
A link to a commencement speech Russell Baker gave in 1995, http://www.humanity.org/printview.php?page=baker_at_connecticut§ionName=voices I am dismayed that we have been an angry nation for nearly 20 years and delighted by the sage bits of the speech that are timeless.
A link to a Calvin Trillin piece on his experience writing for The New Yorker, http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/arts/books/calvin-trillin-how-i-got-dirty-words-into-the-new-yorker/article1930191/print/. He describes useful examples of euphemism that tickle my brain.
It feels presumptuous to blog about writing. Really, who am I? A foremost Authority on Nothing, acting simultaneously as Queen of All I Survey, not very important but damn busy, and not a professional writer.
Lately, I have been reposting other writers’ work. It makes me feel good to do it. It doesn’t diminish my stature, as a foremost Authority on Nothing, to be generous in sharing. I know what I like. I like the story. The story is life.