Saturday, November 16, 2013

Life is Tragic: Author Day on Beat Street (or) Tell me Who Said it and You Win

You may be saying life is beautiful, like Roberto Benigni in the movie of the same name. You may be saying life is driving you crazy or you may not be saying anything. But if you said life is tragic and writing is important, I want to know who you are. Or were.

“Life is tragic. And writing is important.”

I read it in the New Yorker. I think it was in a piece about Frank O’Hara. But when I’ve tried to find it I can’t, so maybe It’s another Frank.  Or another writer?

As soon as I read it I knew it was true. And...

...the best explanation I know for why writing is important, why we do it, why the Beats did it, why I wrote Ruby’s story.

Movies, books, plays, paintings, all the art we see.

At a coffee shop some years back a friend handed me a card he found on a rack of other cards.

“All art is Penance.” He was Catholic, I’m Jewish. We both fell in love with the card.

But this Frank O’Hara – not Frank O’Hara phrase. Said it best.


If you can find out who said it, I’ll send you a Starbuck's gift card and a free copy of The Beat on Ruby’s Street.

All you have to do is write me at

Life is tragic. Writing is important.