Sunday, November 11, 2007
I have an unseemly affection for Studs Terkel. Ours is a December/May romance: he’s 95. I’m not. Such a storyteller, such an undying curiousity for all that is human.
I’ve seen him three times in the flesh: Once at a Steppenwolf Traffic production about six years back at a staging of readings from his books; again by chance at a book reading here in town when he was shilling his then new book Will the Circle Be Unbroken? when I missed my chance to ask him the question I wanted to ask (Studs: How did you find your calling?), and the last time just as we started our war on Iraq and he read at a protest rally -- an amazing piece of poetry (I wish I wrote it down, I wasn’t able to find it later online, I think it may have been called Fly?) -- in which it sounded like he was reading his own elegy and I thought how withered and small he looked and how soon he would die. And how I would miss him.
But he hasn’t, not yet, thank god, and he’s written new book, a memoir, Touch & Go which I will read with the same aching loving heart with which I read the excerpt that showed up in this Sunday’s Chicago Tribune Magazine (but good luck finding it online -- and if you do post a link back here, because I sure wasn’t able to uncover it).
BTW: Found a marvelous rambling conversation with Studs about Woody Guthrie from a 2004 issue of Gapers Block -- sounds like David Elfving may have recorded it even earlier than that -- give a listen »