FCT Special Edition :: The Lines are Open

jackie b. | me

1. Call Me at the Station, the Lines are Open

Last week I had the chance to do a live radio interview with my friend and business mentor, Jackie B. Peterson. We talked for about an hour about all kinds of things. The bumpy path of a writing business. Being afraid to write. The challenges of finding clients. The notion of voice in business writing. The time I met Kim Phuc. My visit to Spain with the Dark Angels. Joni’s song, It All Comes Down to You. The deal with creative staffing agencies. And much more. She was and is awesome. Thank you Jackie and thanks to Barbara Saunders at Solo Pro Radio.

To listen — just click my name or the little arrow. {When you click, your screen might go darker. Just click anywhere on the page, and your screen will return to normal. :)}

[audio: http://www.fivecoolthingsblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Richard-and-Jackie-Interview.mp3|titles=Richard and Jackie Interview]

2. David Rakoff :: Freud Rides the Hampton Jitney

This past week the writer David Rakoff died at the age of 47. He was a regular on This American Life. If you don’t know him, he is David Sedaris’ soul brother. This should tell you something: Remember David Sedaris and his job as Santa’s elf in Macy’s those many years ago? His pal David Rakoff played — wait for it — Freud. In a store window. At Barney’s in New York. At Christmas. His essay is titled Christmas Freud.

Last summer at a writer’s conference on Long Island, David Rakoff read one of his signature essays to a packed-to-overflowing auditorium. I have never laughed so hard. (It was an unpublished piece on the life of a writer.) David Rakoff had 200+ people in tears, which, from all evidence he could do at will. Like his friend Sedaris, David Rakoff read with a very distinctive voice. You almost had to experience his writing through the sound of his voice. He was smart, talented, funny, cynical and compassionate. Completely irresistible.

At the end of the writers conference last year, I climbed onto the Hampton Jitney with my friend Peter Bolger. Across the aisle from us was David Rakoff, heading back home to Manhattan. He shared his New York Times with us and we swapped stories.

Excerpt below is from a 2006 Rakoff essay, Streets of Sorrow. (Worth reading entirely.)

“I take one final stroll over to Vine on my last morning on the Boulevard. Most of the businesses are still shuttered. The tourists have yet to arrive at Grauman’s. I pass Dan Avey’s star once again. It is all of four days old, but I see that it is patched. No doubt it left the workshop patched. There, against the salmon pink of the five-pointed star, is a cloud of darker red, like a bruise or the small beating heart of a tiny creature. There is such hope and poignancy, an almost animal frailty in that blemish, that I stop in my tracks for a minute. People have been coming out West with stars in their eyes for so long, and for just as long, some have returned to where they came from, their hopes dashed. But if the fulfillment of one’s dreams is the only referendum on whether they are beautiful or worth dreaming, then no one would wish for anything. And that would be so much sadder.” — from Streets of Sorrow, by David Rakoff

Times culture blog post here>>

Times obit here>>

Lovely New Yorker piece here>>

Doubleday plans to publish Rakoff’s final work next year. The title: Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die; Cherish, Perish.

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