My respect for David Carr, the New York Times
reporter, bestselling author, and (with A.O. Scott) Times video celeb
, has been reported here. What you've not seen on this blog is talk about Carr's reportorial memoir, The Night of the Gun
. By his own admission, Carr was a substance abuser of the very first order—a "maniac" who went from handling whiskey and cocaine (barely) to not handling crack to smacking women he loved with an open hand to raising twins while failing at rehab to carrying a gun he doesn't remember, or didn't remember until he started tracking down his own past.
Like the scrupulous Times
reporter he miraculously became, Carr sought out and interviewed those whose lives intersected his during his wilderness years. He weighed his idea of things against police records and the recall of old friends. He sorted, sifted, and spun in an attempt to understand not just who he was, but who he is, and how the was
and the is
somehow survive inside the same knocked-about skin.
It's fascinating reading, memoir painstakingly stitched. It has a lot to say not just about Carr's life, but about what truth is and what to do with all the stuff we can't rightly remember. Here's an early paragraph that wisely captures one of my pet peeves (we shall read more about this in Handling the Truth
)—memoirs filled with dialogue from hazy childhood days.
I read some of the classics of the genre, debunked and not. After reading four pages of continuous ten-year-old dialogue magically recalled by someone who was in the throes of alcohol withdrawal at the time, I wondered how he did it. No I didn't. I knew he made it up. It was easy and defendable, really, sublimating and eliding the past in service of a larger Emotional Truth. Truth is singular and lies are plural, but history—the facts of what happened—is both immutable and mostly unknowable. Can I somehow remember enough to type my way to an unvarnished recitation of what happened to me? No chance.
A note for the curious: I use Lana Roosiparg's gorgeous face as my photo of the day for no other reason than that it is a singular, and therefore, true one. Lana is one of the four talented and lovely people recently featured in my husband's art. This is an outtake from the photo shoot that yielded those hallucinatory worlds.
Lana and Tirsa
You know how it is when you wait and wait and wait to share a (good) secret? That's how I always feel when I'm waiting to showcase my husband's art on my humble blog. I was able to release this image
not long ago. Today I can share more.
This work is months in the making. It all began with a photo shoot at DanceSport Academy and features our talented, beautiful friends—Jan, Lana, Scott, Tirsa—whom Bill photographed against a green background. Everything else in these images—the furniture, the hats, the mannequins, the cloth, that pair of legs—was fashioned with a variety of 3D software tools, about which I know nothing.
I just know that I'm amazed, all the time, by what Bill does.
Click on the image to see it in bright detail.
How often I can be found here on this blog, talking dance, yearning for it. How many books of mine have taken a choreographic turn or stopped and lived at, say, the very House of Dance? I've been blessed by teachers who sway me toward better—Scott Lazarov with his impeccable choreography, Jan Paulovich, who insists that I hear the music and is so artfully exact, John Larson, the King of Standard, Cristina Mueller and her Thursday wonders, Aideen O'Malley who does it all, John Vilardo, who worked me out of paralytic fear early on, and others, too. Blessed is me.
I'm not terrific at dance, but I keep trying, and I console myself that the trying matters. This coming Sunday I'll be trying again in a DanceSport Academy showcase—dancing the cha-cha with my husband and a waltz with Jan Paulovich. I'm not exactly ready for either dance. But the hours tick on, and Sunday comes.
Today, though, I share this video of Jan Paulovich and his partner, Lana Roosiparg, who dance so magnificently together. This is what they do, these teachers, when they are free to be their ultimate dance selves.
We spent much of yesterday rehearsing for and then delivering the sixth DanceSport Academy Showcase, sited this year at the Villanova University Connelly Center (which is also where the Lore Kephart Distinguished Historians Series is hosted).
I happen to think it was the best show ever—full of brave souls, innovative choreography, sheer talent, electrifying youth, and the final crowning glory of two performances by Latin champion dancers Jan Paulovich and Lana Roosiparg.
It was also, for me, a chance to dance that waltz with Jan and that cha-cha with my husband—a chance, too, to be surprised by dear friends Tom, Nancy, Mark, Elizabeth, and Laura, who arrived unannounced and cheered us on. How much that meant (and how long remembered it will be). And afterward, of course, dinner with the Bells. We always love our dinner with the Bells, and it's especially fun when dinner with the Bells coincides (another surprise) with a second chance to visit with Tom, Nancy, Mark, Elizabeth, and Laura.
Thank you, Scott Lazarov, John Larson, Cristina Mueller, Aideen O'Malley, Tirsa Rivas, and, of course, Jan and Lana, for seeing us through. For asking us to do more than we think we can—for expecting it from us—and for giving us a stage upon which we can try to soar...or, at least, hear the music.
I've written about Jan and Lana so often on this blog that I don't need to introduce them (do I?). They are the dancing stars, the soon-to-be movie stars, the team that keeps me honest in a Norah Jones waltz, the instruction that burns but lasts.
Here they are, dancing at Philadelphia's Thirtieth Street Station.
Because that's how good they are.