Jim Harrison's words might not be the inspired Word of God, but they'll do in a pinch
I saw Jim Harrison on the Montana episode of Parts Unknown years ago but I neglected to search out any of his books. Been fixing that the last few weeks.
Matt, we have talked about Jim previously. I sure miss his writing. To think we will never hear another word about Brown Dog makes me sad. One of the truly original characters in American fiction. The greatest lovable nitwit ever put on the page. And, we'll never again see another perfect bottom in blue panties. He was such a wonderful old lech.
Thus does poesy proceed to fact by implication;
Thnx, Matt. That would be a wonderful day for a lot of us. Tight lines to you.
Thanks for the introduction to Jim Harrison. My ignorance is my fault for not knowing of works! Getting on it!
Thank you Matt. You gave me a thoughtful and thought-filled morning.
Wonderful essay. Happily I stumbled upon Harrison when LOTF was still a book only, so I'm on your wavelength, Matt. Recently I've been reading "The Raw and the Cooked" a little nibble at a time. Similar to your approach (He won't be writing more of these and they are such gems), but perhaps restrained nibbling is hostile to the Harrison spirit?
I suppose I saw his name as author of Legends of the Fall but I knew nothing of him otherwise. Fascinating. Did he consider the movie a fair treatment? I enjoyed it, although the narrator was a tad annoying.
"Because how to escape the bad news that besieges us, each and every day, is news in itself. News of how not to lose what we know is true in a sea of falseness, and lies, and algorithms eager to feed our cynicism and paranoia of how it’s all gone wrong, which in fairness to the algorithms, it largely has."
In this one sentence, I think you did Jim Harrison proud.
I like the songs you make of your life, as well. Good work.
I don't know Jim Harrison works apart from their appearance in these letters. I have little to no concern for understanding the reality of anything beyond my own experiences and those are befuddling enough for a lifetime. For instance, my wife is a truly wonderful person. Beautiful, smart, caring, a lover of all living things (except snakes) and the best companion and friend I could have. Yet the dogs prefer me. All three are laying a short arms distance away as a winter storm rages around our home. Why? Male and female alike, big and small. It has always been this way with only one rare exception - Schaeffer. When I was learning to hang glide, I practiced on a small hill outside Albuquerque. Schaeffer jumped out of a moving car on the road nearby as I watched, and ran up the hill I had been flying from. He hid behind a clump of sagebrush. The car folks called for a bit then drove off and left him. I enticed him to come to me. He and I went home to Patti. She was not amused. He had a dog door and two lab friends but spent most of a cold snowy winter outdoors. This until the night Patti awakened to discover a six inch snowfall cover everything including Schaeffer. She collected that fur bearing piece of cardboard, brought him in to the place beside her bed. He never left her after that incident. He tolerated me, but he never left her. He saw her plainly as she actually really is. He understood the reality of her as the rest of us only do superficially I fear. So much of my life is like this. Unexplainable events and outcomes. The comment about most people on the subway having better stories than the writer striving to find one simply because they are engaged in reality, is crap. Mostly they are engaged in the same mundane soul crushing work, family troubles, money worries, medical issues as the vast majority of the not 1%. Reality of existence? Not even on the discussion board.
Matt, I just love when you wax poetical about life, death, sorrow and the little pleasures in life., even when riffing on someone else's life.
Awesome piece Matt! Hope you all are well!
Wonderful tribute to one of my favorite writers. I always remember his cure for heartbreak, which I used once (in stages and only once, thank god): “broiling a two- to three-pound porterhouse, eating it with your hands, followed by a hot bath in which you consume the best bourbon you can buy until the bottle is empty.”
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Yes indeed. Jim Harrison’s words might not be the Inspired Word of God, but they’ll do in a pinch. A fantasy of a perfect day for some would be sharing a drift boat with Jim Harrison on a classic western trout stream and the evening hours with Bo Derek because — well, he’s Jim Harrison and Bo Derek is not a Hollywood hard lefty. Short of ever living those fantasies, there’s always “Legends of the Fall,” “Revenge,” “Dalva” and countless other entries among Harrison’s literary canon to remind us what was lost with Hemingway’s expiry. (Fortunately, we still have McGuane.) And, in a pinch, first and foremost, is Matt Labash himself.