My friend, Alan Cheuse, was a serious scholar, a man who both wrote and read with a level of intuitive understanding that he ws able to express with an unmistakably passionate human voice. The honor of sitting down with him to talk about the books we both loved so much never left me, but Alan was so perfectly human tht he never lost his levity. He had a mischievious sense of fun that always let him speak of our most worthy moments and achievements with an almost joyous conviction.
Alan spent his summers here in Santa Cruz. We’d sit in the backyard of his rental and reord the conversations under the sun — or the overcast clouds. I’d bring our dogs, whom he he loved. If you listen closely to the recordings, something you can hear them snorting in the background. For Alan, Santa Cruz was a home of the heart, I think. Our small California beach town brought out his own warmth. He was never in a hurry here.
Our conversations were truly conversations. Alan’s gift was not just to speak, but to listen. You knew he heard what you said and took it seriously, took it to heart. Reading is in some ways the ultimately abstract artform, but Alan had the talent to make it concrete. In his novels, in his reviews, in his conversations, with his voice, Alan painted, danced, and sung with language. I will miss him. Then I’ll read a book; and hear his voice once more.
08-21-15: Agony Column Podcast News Report : Senator Claire McCaskill is 'Plenty Ladylike' : Internalizing Determination to Overcome Sexism [Incudes Time to Read EP 211: Claire McCaskill, Plenty Ladylike, plus A 2015 Interview with Senator Claire McCaskill]
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