Some week, huh?
Well, luckily, defying logic, life goes on. Here’s how life has been going on in the Finke-Knezovich worlds of late:
- Beth and Whitney have been on a roll since their staph-infected first few days at the Vermont Studio Center. Beth says she’s getting a lot done, that Whitney seems to be mellowing in accordance with the more pastoral pace and setting. And Beth says the food at VSC is terrific.
- While in Urbana this week, I had a great lunch of Thai food with Jean Thompson. Beth has written here at the blog about Jean, our dear, one-of-a-kind friend. Jean was a mentor to Beth while Beth worked at writing and publishing “Long Time, No See.” Jean’s a spookily talented writer who gets into characters’ heads and lays them open to readers like no one else. During her teaching career at the University of Illinois, Jean produced a highly regarded body of short-story collections and novels. One of the collections, Who Do You Love, was a finalist for the National Book Award. Well, since retiring from the academic world, she’s been producing more great work than ever. Her latest – The Humanity Project – just received a thoughtful and glowing review at the New York Times. If you’re a reader, go out and get it, or anything by Jean.
- Roger Ebert is dead. Long Live Ebertfest. My friend Brand Fortner, whose daughter contributed a guest post here about her father’s adoration for Ebert, is at this year’s Ebertfest in Champaign in the newly, grandly renovated historic Virginia Theater. Another Urbana friend—Steven Bentz, of Steven and Nancy—who adopted Hanni, is director of the Virginia, and has been working heroically to ensure the theater was ready after months of work.
- There are some nice things about being a bachelor for a few weeks. Utter spontaneity is one. A week or two ago, on a Sunday night, I was restless. I’d heard that pianist Eric Reed and his trio was putting on a great Thelonious Monk-themed show at Jazz Showcase. I looked up at the clock, which read 7:30. I closed my computer, I put on my coat, and walked the two blocks to the Showcase. Walked in, bought a ticket, sat down, and enjoyed a sublime set. Sometimes, life is just good.
- I just learned that thanks to the good people who care for our son Gus up at Bethesda Lutheran Communities in Watertown, Wis., Gus will be getting an hour-long joy ride this summer — in either an open-top vintage car or…a sidecar on a motorcycle! (I love motorcycles, and based on how much he enjoyed riding in our bicycle trailer, I think Gus would love either the sidecar or the antique auto).
Best of all: Tomorrow, April 20, Flo – Beth’s evergreen mother – turns 97 years old. She’s still living in her own place, and her face lights up about any number of simple pleasures.
Happy 97th Flo.