Apr/May 2014

e c l e c t i c a
s p o t l i g h t   a u t h o r


Jascha Kessler

(These are excerpts—click on the title to view the whole piece!)

A Belated Postscript to Some Obits for C. Page Smith

I did take a look, more than a look. In fact, I sat and read avidly for an hour, flipping the pages of several of those manuscripts, taking in whatever I could manage, surprised as I was, and simply stunned. Henry Miller had nothing on Ward Smith, not even in his Tropics. Fitzgerald's Long Island aristos, his Tom and Daisy Buchanan and their notorious set, Nick Carraway's beautiful golfer, Jordan—they were insubstantial, mere wraiths imagined by an outsider—compared to what I read fleetingly, all written straightforward by a deadpan narrator who often sounded like Edmund Wilson's protagonist in his grungy New York novel, I Thought of Daisy.

...Leave Not a Rack Behind

I'm going on 84 now. That deathbed counsel drifts on the sea of memories remaining to me, my friend Bill aged 86 having keeled over one morning several years ago as he stood waiting at the counter of a Brentwood patisserie to buy pastries for tea-time guests. It returns suddenly like a forgotten parlay ticket scribbled with something that now seems to read like an insight into Shakespeare's last play. Glimpses of insight are a common-enough experience in one's latter years; they gleam amidst the flotsam accreted during a lifetime of confusion, action, as the many-too-many fardels of belief that once burdened us drop off like dead limpets and float away.