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This book is so civilized I can’t bear to think, of how remarkably little I know… of the behavior of men and women (their ‘habits’/ways, supreme knowledges learned over X-thousand years (untaught!), sexual practices, languages used — as in how words are pronounced), the meaning of glances/‘glimpses’ suddenly filled w/ ‘everything there is to say’ that’s in a word — even ‘at the end’/since the world began… What anyone might study (‘bugs’?)!
And yet the text is very much ‘Against Knowledge As Such’ — even as it proposes/evidences (suavely & w/ ‘germane’ affection) its own cinematic familiarity w/ the ‘depth’ & ‘breadth’ of each particular given… I want to say, ‘given life’ by its being said.
So, at this time of life, there’s no way that I can ‘know more’ than I do know (as, e.g., first experience of jimmies on Brigham’s mocha almond fudge ice cream cone when I arrived in Boston in 1959 — differently memorialized herein (accompanied by some ‘history’!) — was ‘quite a treat’ )! ! Nonetheless, I am asked by this book to ‘understand’ something of what Duncan McNaughton’s experience has been (said ‘for all time’ in these words), and I do/have tried…
As babble (of the best sort!), it’s so resolutely stylish (very much in the manner of “The Ancient Mariner”) that I’m not at all sure I want to give this fondly terrifying ‘old sailor’ my ear — for fear I might experience little bits of the Sirens’ Song of having-been-alive in the rapture (‘sea-shell’) of his skull, wch he has somehow succeeded in ‘vocalizing’ (he can say it — Aieee !) ! !
But it’s so ‘casual’/‘effortless-seeming’ in the timing of what to say when (as in the following postcard received from the author on c. 23 February 2007):
That Dennis Johnson has passed
really does drag the heart too
much. Whenever it was, some other
century, when Bird stole that
pass and DJ was already
cutting down the lane almost
before Bird’s fingers touched the
ball and Bird knew it — so:
poof. Hope you are ok —
& imparted w/ full confidence that I (even I!) wd know full well whereof he doth speak… that I don’t feel like a dummy entirely, that I can carry on in his company (perhaps carrying his coat, etc.) & be quite happy & privileged to be there, amazed, in my (free!) courtside seat… trying to remember, it must have been a bounce pass from Bird on left side of court to DJ (‘streaking to the basket’ in Detroit — & poor Isiah Thomas! — as time ran out, & how cd both have known?? but they ‘did’!!) that turned the series around entirely… very much appreciated to this day (& not only in Boston) for its ‘innocence’ & ‘glory’ by basketball fans across the globe, some of whom are, by now, quite old…
— Robert Grenier
March 13, 2007