I try my best to read everything Sam Anderson publishes. I am… a fan. (His book Boom Town was one of my favorite books I read last year.) Two weekends ago, he had an essay in The New York Times Magazine about hanging out with “The Last Two Northern Rhinos on Earth,” and last weekend he had a piece called “I Recommend Eating Chips.”
I read the pieces back-to-back — one deeply serious but funny, the other funny but deeply serious — and had the perverse idea to cut and paste them together in my diary. (The way the rhinos are referred to as “The girls” made me think of the way we call my sons “the boys”…)
If I taught a writing class, I would make my students do this exercise. One the one hand, it feels disrespectful to the writer, and on the other, what’s more respectful than the close reading and attention required to perform such an exercise?
This is exactly what writing feels like to me: a weird mixture of reverence and audacity…
Filed under: Sam Anderson