Bill Murray on Gilda Radner:
“Gilda got married and went away. None of us saw her anymore. There was one good thing: Laraine had a party one night, a great party at her house. And I ended up being the disk jockey. She just had forty-fives, and not that many, so you really had to work the music end of it. There was a collection of like the funniest people in the world at this party. Somehow Sam Kinison sticks in my brain. The whole Monty Python group was there, most of us from the show, a lot of other funny people, and Gilda. Gilda showed up and she’d already had cancer and gone into remission and then had it again, I guess. Anyway she was slim. We hadn’t seen her in a long time. And she started doing, “I’ve got to go,” and she was just going to leave, and I was like, “Going to leave?” It felt like she was going to really leave forever.
So we started carrying her around, in a way that we could only do with her. We carried her up and down the stairs, around the house, repeatedly, for a long time, until I was exhausted. Then Danny did it for a while. Then I did it again. We just kept carrying her; we did it in teams. We kept carrying her around, but like upside down, every which way—over your shoulder and under your arm, carrying her like luggage. And that went on for more than an hour—maybe an hour and a half—just carrying her around and saying, “She’s leaving! This could be it! Now come on, this could be the last time we see her. Gilda’s leaving, and remember that she was very sick—hello?”
We worked all aspects of it, but it started with just, “She’s leaving, I don’t know if you’ve said good-bye to her.” And we said good-bye to the same people ten, twenty times, you know.
And because these people were really funny, every person we’d drag her up to would just do like five minutes on her, with Gilda upside down in this sort of tortured position, which she absolutely loved. She was laughing so hard we could have lost her right then and there.
It was just one of the best parties I’ve ever been to in my life. I’ll always remember it. It was the last time I saw her.”
“When the child was a child, it was the time of these questions. Why am I me, and why not you? Why am I here, and why not there? When did time begin, and where does space end? Isn’t life under the sun just a dream? Isn’t what I see, hear, and smell just the mirage of a world before the world? Does evil actually exist, and are there people who are really evil? How can it be that I, who am I, wasn’t before I was, and that sometime I, the one I am, no longer will be the one I am?”
Wings of Desire (Wim Wenders, 1987)
“I examine a map of Prague, marking the locations of the families who helped and sheltered the parachutists. Almost all of them paid with their lives—men, women, and children. The Svatos family, a few feet from the Charles Bridge; the Ogoun family, near the castle; the Novak, Moravec, Zelenka, and Fafek families, all further east. Each member of these families would deserve his or her own book—an account of their involvement with the Resistance until the tragic denouement of Mauthausen. How many forgotten heroes sleep in history’s great cemetery? Thousands, millions of Fafeks and Moravecs, of Novaks and Zelenkas…
The dead are dead, and it makes no difference to them whether I pay homage to their deeds. But for us, the living, it does mean something. Memory is of no use to the remembered, only to those who remember. We build ourselves with memory and console ourselves with memory.
No reader could possibly retain this list of names, so why write it? For you to remember them, I would have to turn them into characters. Unfair, but there you go. I know already that only the Moravecs, and perhaps the Fafeks, will find a place in my story. The Svatoses, the Novaks, the Zelenkas—not to mention all those whose names or existence I’m unaware of—will return to their oblivion. But in the end a name is just a name. I think of them all. I want to tell them. And if no one hears me, that doesn’t matter. Not to them, and not to me. One day, perhaps, someone in need of solace will write the story of the Novaks and the Svatoses, of the Zelenkas and the Fafeks.”
From HHhH by Laurent Binet
When this list of Woody Guthrie’s “New Year’s Rulin’s” popped up on the internet a year ago, it became an instant classic of the season. Which means that the time has rolled around to remember it, reread it and take it again to heart. There’s a rulin’ on it to suit just about anybody because it never hurts to be reminded “Don’t get lonesome,” “Stay glad,” “Dream good” and “Love everybody.” Also, “Wash teeth if any.”
Happy New Year everybody!
Via Lists of Note
“The world opens up suddenly, opens into a narrow box canyon with four sheep, and we grieve. Two shepherds, maybe not in their right mind, and we grieve. The relief of company not Bangley, no the blood disease, we grieve. We grieve. That this was once the middle of nowhere and now it’s not even that. And I am not even that. Before I could locate myself: I am a widower. I am fighting for survival. I am the keeper of something, not sure what, not the flame, maybe just Jasper. Now I couldn’t. I didn’t know what I was. So grieve.
“I stood in the shade of the tree in the cool breath of the moving water and let the sound, the light breeze blow through me. I was a shell. Empty. Put me to your ear and you would hear the distant rush of a ghost ocean. Just nothing. The slightest pressure of current or tide could push and roll me. I would wash up. Here on this bank, dry out and bleach and the wind would scour and roughen me, strip away te thinnest layers until I was brittle and the thickness of paper. Until I crumbled into sand. That’s how I felt. I’d say it was a relief to have at last nothing, nothing, but I was too hollow to register relief, too empty to carry it.”