Thursday, 2 April 2009

the day gets bigger

Originally uploaded by Jaako

Reading the lovely Scout’s blog, I come across Maira Kalman, whose name I have never heard before, and am intrigued. I start digging and find a book, a wonderful TED talk, a website, and a NY Times column. She’s wonderful. The world cracks open slightly and is brighter.

I want to know more about her: does she have children? Where does she live? Does she have a pot-bellied pig, a fancy studio, red tights like the ones I’m wearing today? If I understand her life more, can I live more like her? Can I live better? Can I die better? (Because like her, I think those are the only two things worth dedicated yourself to the study of.)

I find out she has two children, a series of children’s books, a mischievous face. I find out she had a husband, Tibor, a renegade graphic designer now dead. Renegade graphic designers – my specialist subject. I read his obituary.

It mentions how he went to live in Cuba, his politics, and that he wrote a rare book called Chairman Rolf Fehlbaum. I look to the left of my desk: I have this book; it’s been there for months, untouched.

I read this book, and it makes me marvel. The world cracks open slightly and is brighter.

I go back to finish reading his obituary, feeling I’ve found new friends today. At the end of the obit, one of Tibor’s friends gives a wonderful testimonial: "He remained charming and prickly and funny literally until the end. Since people our age have not yet died in great numbers, it's a great model for us all as a way to die, not just with dignity, but with effervescence."

The friend is Kurt Andersen, a writer, whose name is at once new and familiar. I realise – yesterday, waiting for a friend, I picked an old magazine from a rack and opened it, randomly, to a writer’s description of his perfect final meal. The writer was Kurt Andersen, and I had never heard of him until last night.

I sit here and the world feels bigger, and smaller, and brighter, and closer, and strung through with possibility.

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