Recommendations,  Required Reading

Read This

It’s been a while since I posted one of these. Though I’m not sure all that many people are reading this blog anyway, so I figure if my screaming into the void is occasionally intermittent, it doesn’t really matter all that much.

This essay by Curtis Sittenfeld is so very well-written. And it is about precisely the kind of friendship that I hold most dear. The kind of friendship that endures across distance. The kind of friendship that greets most things with humour but lapses into gravity when necessary. Take a moment and read “My Friend Sam“. As usual, the first part quoted here. Click the link to go to the full essay.

If you’re trying to tell the story of a friendship, do you start when the two of you met? For Sam and me, that was in the late summer of 1996, after we became co-editors of the arts and entertainment section of our university’s student newspaper.

Do you start with the beginning of your friend’s life? Sam was born in 1976, in São Paulo, Brazil, the younger brother of two sisters, the son of parents who’d left Korea two years earlier and who, in 1991, would resettle in Torrance, California, just south of Los Angeles, and work as garment fusers.

Do you start with your friend’s personality? Sam has always been loyal and generous, neurotic and melodramatic, wickedly but unostentatiously smart, frank and funny and someone who makes the people around him feel funny, too, because he laughs frequently and hard.

Or do you start the story with the day everything changed? Which was in 2014, right around his thirty-eighth birthday, when Sam was given a diagnosis of Stage III-C stomach cancer. For the enviably uninitiated, about nine per cent of people who receive such a diagnosis are alive five years later.


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