2.06.2007

R.I.P. Art and Molly

When I was a teenager, as you may have already read, I got along terrifically with my mother. One of the key things we shared were similar senses of humor (this is why I knew how important sharing laughs was when it came time to picking the person I'd spend my life with, about which you may also have read in an earlier post -- does referring to my own writing constitute a meme, or am I safe?).

Among the writing we loved, in particular, in addition to the inimitable and sublime P.G. Wodehouse, were the columns of Art Buchwald and Molly Ivins, and the essays of Calvin Trillin and Roy Blount Jr. I have had the great good fortune to meet both Bud and Roy (and gush like a giddy schoolgirl, but a) you suspected as much and b) these are stories for another day), but merely admired Art and Molly from afar. Both were lost to us in the past two weeks, and this makes me terribly sad. Art's death was a long time coming, and chronicled by him in a mordantly hilarious way that exemplified his writing and his life at its best (go see his video obituary at www.nytimes.com). Molly's death came as more of a shock to me, which is partly because I wasn't paying attention -- I tended to read her in chunks and then fall off -- and had missed the references to her battle with cancer. Fate is cruel.

I didn't always agree with Molly's brand of rabble-rousing editorial, but I always thought she had something interesting to say, and greatly admired her tenacity and principle. Ditto Buchwald, whose real heyday was some twenty years before I began reading him in the '80s, but whose writing stood the test of time and still has kernels of real wisdom and pith. His recent stuff, like Molly's, lost none of its acerbic pungency, and the literary light of the world really dimmed with the passing of these two giant personalities.

Do me a favor. Go find their work on the Internets or at your local library, and devote a little time to their greatest hits; I promise you won't be disappointed.

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