2 Brief Stories About Robin Williams
I met Robin Williams twice.
The first time, it was in my early teens and on a beach in Honolulu. My family was on vacation and my mother saw Robin Williams with his own family a little ways down the beach. (The trademark hairiness made him relatively easy to spot.)
Not being a particularly shy…
What I Imagine The Book “Snow Falling On Cedars” Is About
This is the novel Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson.
I bought it at the UCLA bookstore probably around 2003, back when I was a student there. It was already only six dollars, plus I got a 30% discount at the time since I worked at the textbook store, so buying this critically-acclaimed novel was kind of a no-brainer.
I’ve never read it. I’ve planned to consistently, but some other book always takes prominence. Maybe I’ll get to it soon?
I have no idea what it’s about. I think it’s a murder mystery, maybe in Sweden? I think that’s right, but it’s not like those Stieg Larson books. It’s supposed to be, like, literary, I think. Maybe I’m confusing it with Smilla’s Sense of Snow?
Here’s a picture of it on its side, with some remotes in the background, which control the various kinds of media I’m more likely to engage with than this book.
Anyway, it’s probably about some crime that happens in Norway, maybe involving a rape. Crime books from Europe involving rape seem to be taken more seriously. It won the Pen/Faulkner Award, which I imagine is quite prestigious. I know I haven’t won anything like that.
Let’s see what the Sunday Times says.
A skilfully constructed, deeply affecting story of love and death.
Well, that doesn’t help one bit. The “cedars” alluded to in the title are probably trees. And snow falls on them. I’m sure that’s symbolic of something, but I really won’t know what unless I read the damn thing. It’s the kind of title that makes me think there will be a lot of words dedicated to describing some forest, which is all well and good, but I don’t know if I have the time for that. I mean, how many hours can I dedicate to reading about trees and clouds and rivers when I’m still only through half of the second season of Orange Is The New Black?
Let’s flip to the end here. 404 pages. That’s not that long. I’ve read longer books. In my entire life, I bet I’ve read at least a dozen books longer than that. Stephen King’s IT is over 1,000 pages long, and I read that when I was a teenager!
Here’s a picture of me pretending to read the book.
Oh man, look at all those movies back there. I sure would like to watch one of those. Which one is that? Oh, Children of Men. That’s a really good movie. I’m gonna put that on.
Okay, but I’m putting Snow Falling on Cedars on my bedside table. That’ll make sure I read a few pages each night. I bet the central character is a really complex, interesting person. I look forward to reading it.
The First Paragraphs of Sunday Magazine Profiles
Carl Finsberg munches on the burnt edges of a piece of toast in the bright lobby of the Gulf Streamboat Hotel. We’re there to discuss his new book, Solipsism in the Time of Facebook, and as I endeavor to ask if I, too, am just a figment of his imagination, his publicist emerges from the veranda and presents him with a new silver beardcomb, a present from an attentive fan, no doubt.
I’ve waited nearly twenty minutes for cellist Ghislaine Yi to emerge from the basement of her Portsmouth, N.H., home, where she spends two hours each morning. “The birds,” she later told me, “are too lively in the morning, and such a shame, as worms at dusk must surely have more bulk and flavor.” Perhaps this is why her basement ritual is considered so crucial to her strength in the fourth position. When you are below the earth, no birds are audible.
Stan Craft is receiving an award tonight for his contributions to post-alt-sludge-rock, but today, in a boutique in Munich’s trendy Vogelkotschkampf district, he’s buying a novelty keychain for his daughter, Trudy. “There is no irony in this,” he says, presenting his selection to the cashier and letting out a pensive fart. We walk down the avenue to Strusselkommen and he hums a few bars of The Throatums’ “Your Face is a Manatee’s Cock,” one of his greatest influences.
I roll over in bed to see Lady Douglas, still awake, her breasts adrift in the soft light from the wall sconces in my Babson Island bungalow. We made love last night unexpectedly, after one too many Caorunn Gibsons and a mutual appreciation for Itzhak Perlman. This is only the second time I’ve slept with a profile subject, though I sheepishly admit that I imagined Faye Dunaway 1974 the entire time I was with Faye Dunaway 2003. Some writers might say I’ve used my position as a top profile writer to exploit an innocent viscountess. I embrace this criticism, much as I embrace Lady Douglas, her eyelids closing under the sedate New England breeze.