Death of a Lion

So like most ambitious people i have a list.

This list includes things i must do before the age of x.

People i must meet because they've inspired me to no end and helped me
accomplish the small things I've accomplished or dream about the pursuits I
engage in every day.

And when someone on this list passes, you feel it.

You think damn, I always wanted to ask this question, shake my hero's hand,
let him or her know how their work made me feel, how it inspired me
to become the growing man and artist i am today.

i have a lot of heroes.

sometimes i admire them without even getting a chance to study their work
before they go.

because my list is so full of writers it's like taking a lit class:

time to read everything seminal by Thomas Pynchon RIGHT NOW!

and these are 800 or 1200 page books we're talking about.

so you guessed it...those books stay on the shelf...

(the books i do get to read are those directly relating to the world of Metropolis or
BlabStar and i'm quite thankful for that blessing!)

with my heroes, sometimes i just dont have the time to do their work justice...
so i bide my time by taking pinches of them through articles and essays.

read their interviews, if there are any, i watch their videos.

but people die. on the list. all the time.

and then you cant ask questions. then you cant meet them, thank them. then you cant shake their hand.

norman mailer was one of those people on the list for me.

you can read about norman. he's easy to find. wrote a classic at 25 called The Naked and the Dead.

wrote The White Negro, singlehandedly giving white be-boppers their rallying cry.

made some wild films.

ran for mayor of New York. founded the village voice. stabbed his wife.

tussled with feminists. hung out with ali. won the pulitzer TWICE!
founded the genre of new journalism.

his list of achievements is long and like most great people confounding in its contradictions and complexities.

you love him. you hate him. but you have to agree he's old guard, a lion, he meant something.

he believed in the power of art to change things. and he lamented in his dying days the fact
that the novel couldn't stop george bush, go make people vote, or just ack write.

even today, his shadow, his abscence means something.

he was the warhol of writers in the 20th century.

coming along after faulkner and hemingway in america just to show how funky truth and beauty could
get when mass media and celebrity came into the picture.

well, norman, never got a chance to ask this question in person: but here it goes anyway:

waitaminute, come to think of it, i have some books to read before i ask you any questions at all...


At November 20, 2007 at 3:08 PM , Blogger A.E.Joseph said...

I must meet the following people: Dr. Linda Hare, Toni Morrison and Edwidge Danticat. Good Job Chuck!

At November 20, 2007 at 7:32 PM , Blogger Chuck Lightning said...

We can go meet Toni together!

and you'll enjoy Edwidge. she's a little quiet. but she's dangerous.

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