Saturday, November 01, 2008
What Studs Terkel Meant to Me
I would love to be able to profess a greater familiarity with Studs Terkel than is actually the case. I have been exposed to him to the degree that probably most people have - I have picked up his work from time to time, enjoyed it, and moved on. I never bothered to make a considered study of the man during the portion of his life that overlapped mine. Now, he is gone. I have no easy explanation for the effect that hearing of his death had on me. Studs Terkel was, I now know, an important part of my life.
It was Hunter S. Thompson who made me want to write to begin with. But the Good Doctor made me want to write about a life that never existed; a parody of a bent and dangerous ethos that in reality I left behind long ago, and which was mostly an act to begin with.
Studs Terkel made me want to live life and copy it down as best I could. He reminded me that in the details of my small and meager existence there is monumental truth and joy that passes through me and into the lives of everyone arund me, weaving us all into the great web of history that sustains the human experiment against the howling winds of evolutionary oblivion.
Studs Terkel made me proud to be myself. For that I will remember him until I, too, have gone from this life. I hope that by then someone can say the same of me.