Tuesday, June 21, 2011

What I'm Reading: George, Being George.

Over the course of a couple of days last week I read George, Being George, an oral history of George Plimpton - writer, long-time editor of The Paris Review, bon vivant. Biographies are partly responsible for where I've ended up - which is to say, in Los Angeles, and New York, and for now, in Austin. I say this because for me, biographies (of writers, artists, film stars, musicians, athletes) have served as inspiration, and at times, as a reminder of the possibility - indeed the necessity, of living 'a life less ordinary.' I don't mean to imply that the life I've led, or lead now, is extraordinary, the stuff of world renown - though on certain days I can imagine the book my story might contain. Indeed, the life I live at the moment is quieter, and in many ways, more 'ordinary' - outwardly, anyway - than at any time since I was a youth, growing up in Manchester.  But reading a book like this reminds one of the possibilities of life, of the importance of cultivating valuable friendships, and of surrounding oneself with people of great vitality. Few people live a life that is forever vibrant, filled with charm (you could make a good case that George Plimpton came pretty close to doing so), but there's something to be said for a story that reminds you to take your chance at doing so, makes it seem like it might even be possible, if only for an afternoon or two.

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