Join us as we continue our literary journey with the fabulous and outspoken Quentin Crisp. Writer, author, actor, illustrator and gay icon of his day. Quentin Crisp became a gay icon in the 70's with his memoir "the naked civil servant." This memoir really caught the attention of the public because of his defiant exhibitionism and longstanding refusal to remain in the closet. Get ready for a fabulous journey in the world of literature with the one and only Quentin Crisp.
Join me as we give a dose of quick lit. It's quick bites of literature that takes you there, and makes you think. It's book candy that sweetens and sours your taste buds. Mark your calenders for some fantastic quick lit. Stay tuned and keep it locked.
Quick Lit will be premiering on 9/16/09@ 4am pst. You can catch quick lit every Tues, Wed, Thus. Check us out live or play back the archives at www.blogtalkradio.com/diva29
Join us as we continue our literary journey with writer and confessional poet Anne Sexton. Her work was autobiographical in nature. She was also well known for her confessional voice which, she had a way of making what she had written seem real. Her work became notable and was regarded as sophisticated. She was very popular on the poetry reading circuit where she commanded fees far in excess for her poetry readings. Anne Sexton, poet, writer and icon of her day. Join us!
Join us as we continue on our literary journey with the one and only Pinkie Gordon Lane. A poet and writer true to form with substance. For decades Pinkie Gordan Lane has represented one of the quieter strains of black poetry. With true determination she became the first black woman to receive a doctorate from LSU in 1956. She was also the first black female poet laureate of LA. Pinkie's work speaks for itself with unarresting images, but also with reassuring visions of nature, sometimes deceptively simple. With her lyrical, soaring and poetic gift, her style has become a style all it's own. Mark your calenders as we continue on our literary journey with Pinkie Gordan Lane.
At the end of his deeply affecting memoir, the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy writes about his grandson “Little Teddy” — the son of his son “Medium Teddy” who delivered such a heartbreaking eulogy at the senator’s funeral on Saturday — and his difficulties mastering the family tradition of sailing. The senator told the 10-year-old “we might not be the best,” but “we can work harder than anyone,” and Little Teddy stayed with it, grew eager to learn and started winning races. That, the senator writes, “is the greatest lesson anyone can learn”: that if you “stick with it,” that if, as the title of his book suggests, you keep a “true compass” and do your best, you will eventually “get there.”
And that, in a sense, is the theme of this heartfelt autobiography: that persistence, perseverance and patience in pursuit of a cause or atonement for one’s failures can lead to achievement and the possibility of redemption. It’s the story of how this youngest and most underestimated of siblings slowly, painfully, incrementally found genuine purpose of his own in shouldering the weighty burden of familial expectations and the duty of carrying on his slain brothers’ work. He found a purpose, not as they did in the high-altitude pursuit of the presidency but in the dogged, daily grind of being a senator — of laboring over bills, of sitting through endless committee meetings, of wading through briefing books and making deals with members across the aisle. The resulting legislation — including the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program of 1997 — would help the poor and the disenfranchised and those with disabilities, and win him recognition as one of the foremost legislators in American history.
Mr. Kennedy is not a particularly introspective writer — he acknowledges in these pages that he coped with the assassinations of his brothers Jack and Bobby by pushing his grief down, by trying to keep moving forward so as to stay ahead of the darkness and not to be engulfed by despair. But he writes in these pages with searching candor about the losses, joys and lapses of his life; the love and closeness of his family; the solace he found in sailing and the sea; his complex relationships with political allies and rivals. Mr. Kennedy’s conversational gifts as a storyteller and his sense of humor — so often remarked on by colleagues and friends — shine through here, as does his old-school sense of public service and his hard-won knowledge, in his son Teddy Jr.’s words, that “even our most profound losses are survivable.”
In these pages (Ron Powers is credited as a collaborator) Mr. Kennedy draws some telling portraits of other politicians. Of Jimmy Carter, he writes, “He baffled many potential allies in his own party,” but “I believed then and now that he reserved a special place in his animus toward me.” He writes that his objections to Ronald Reagan’s policies are “far too vast to enumerate” but that he admired the optimism Reagan brought to the country after the Carter era. More revealingly, Mr. Kennedy says that he is convinced that had his brother Jack lived, he would have sought a way out of Vietnam (“He had spoken with McNamara,” referring to Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara, “about a plan for withdrawal within two or three years,” he writes) and that he, Teddy, is “satisfied that the Warren Commission got it right.”
But it is Mr. Kennedy’s personal rather than political reminiscences that are most memorable in “True Compass.” He was a talented amateur painter, and there is a vivid, almost pictorial evocation of his privileged but pressured and sometimes lonely childhood and youth. He sometimes felt, he says, that his life was “a constant state of catching up” to his glamorous, larger-than-life brothers, whom he hero-worshipped as a boy: Joe Jr., who died young in war; Jack, who Teddy believed would always win even when the odds were against him, who “could do anything he wanted”; and Bobby, who was not “cold, calculating” as some of his critics charged, but who “lived and made decisions in the moment,” completely absorbed in whatever he was doing.
Teddy is always the one who through sheer will and fortitude — whether passing a piece of legislation, finishing a perilous mountain climb or gritting his teeth through the pain of kidney stones to deliver a speech — keeps on keeping on, telling himself “I can handle this,” “I can handle this.”
In trying to decide whether to run for the Senate in 1962, Mr. Kennedy writes, he remembered his father’s words to him as a boy: “You can have a serious life or a nonserious life, Teddy. I’ll still love you whichever choice you make. But if you decide to have a nonserious life, I won’t have much time for you. You make up your own mind. There are too many children here who are doing things that are interesting for me to do much with you.”
Later in this volume, Mr. Kennedy addresses his own failings and regrets. He writes about how his actions in 1969 at Chappaquiddick were “inexcusable,” how Mary Jo Kopechne’s death “haunts me every day of my life” and how “atonement is a process that never ends.” When his father died four months later, he says, he “wondered whether I had shortened” his life “from the shock I had visited on him with my news of the tragic accident on Chappaquiddick Island. The pain of that burden was almost unbearable.”
In another chapter, Mr. Kennedy observes that “with all of the background noise about Palm Beach” — surrounding the rape trial of his nephew William K. Smith (who was found not guilty) — “and my bachelor lifestyle, I would have been the wrong person to lead the questioning” of Clarence Thomas during the Anita Hill portion of his confirmation hearings and that “many people were disappointed that I was unable to succeed in making a persuasive case against Thomas’s confirmation.”
After his brother Robert’s assassination, Mr. Kennedy recalls how his anguish led him to drive his car at high speeds, to sometimes drive his “capacity for liquor to the limit” and how years earlier, Bobby’s grief over their brother Jack’s assassination “veered close to being a tragedy within the tragedy,” with their mother, Rose, and Bobby’s wife, Ethel, fearing for “his psychic survival.” His brother Bobby’s “blossoming idealism” — about Vietnam, about taking on the fight against poverty and urban violence — was in fact, he suggests, “provoked by Jack’s death.” The murders of Jack and Bobby not only devastated Teddy and left him with an abiding sorrow and loneliness, but they also, on a subconscious level at least, made him fearful for his own life. He writes that he flinched at 21-gun salutes at Arlington to honor the fallen in Iraq, once dived for the pavement when a car backfired in the street. In 1982, he says, his children’s hope that he would not run for the presidency and their unspoken fears for his safety were crucial in his decision not to enter the race.
The tribulations of the Kennedy family have frequently been likened to something out of Shakespeare or a Greek tragedy, but Teddy Kennedy manages the difficult task in these pages of conveying the profoundly ordinary, human dimensions of his and his family’s losses, the day-to-day reality of losing two siblings (Joe Jr. and Kathleen) when he was still a youth; of becoming a paterfamilias at the age of 37 for his nephews and nieces after Jack’s and Bobby’s deaths; of shepherding two of his children through the ordeal of cancer; of coming to a point in his life after all this sorrow and struggle of having “stopped looking forward to things,” of retreating from the risk of “new personal commitments.”
In the end, however, Mr. Kennedy was able to write a happy ending to his own life. He fell in love with and in 1992 married Victoria Reggie, whose “acute understanding and love of me” gave him a new sense of stability and tranquillity. He found renewed meaning in his work in the Senate. And he found, in Barack Obama, whom he helped elect, a new incarnation of the idealism and sense of public service he and his brothers had embraced as young men so many years ago.
In his last months, Mr. Kennedy says, he found that “simple pleasures fill me with happiness,” that gazing out at the sea and his beloved boat Mya left him with a sense of peace. Sailing, he writes, always helped “displace the emptiness inside me with the awareness of direction”: “an awareness that there is a beginning to the voyage and an end to the voyage, and that this beginning and ending is part of the natural order of things.”
DIVA'S NATION: THE YEAR OF SOUND, MIND AND BODY! COMING SOON!
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