1. Patton Oswald's Appearance on Conan O'Brien:
The University of Nebraska Press Blog / September 26, 2016 / 1,292 words
...Oswalt has spent the week before Mother’s Day making a thoughtful time for his six-year-old daughter, one that allows her to sidestep with extended family, more or less, the holiday. And yet, for reasons beyond his control, the plan falls short. The ticket agent laments. What a beautiful figure she makes for the unpredictable nature of grief and the many masks it wears, how it speaks with understanding while impolitely forcing its way into too many conversations and experiences, hiding both everywhere and in plain sight. In Oswalt’s telling, like a witch in a fairy tale, grief offers unpalatable truths. Even her candy is “made from pine bark and ink.” We may guard vigilantly against grief, Oswalt seems to suggest, but grief is clever and unrelenting. It is closer than we think.
Certain family stories seem to have no beginning. My great-grandmother’s love of professional wrestling is one such story in my extended family. It was curated over the years to include a cooler of beer (that, in subsequent tellings, grew warm and cheap), an easy chair (floral-patterned, with a lever and swing hinge), and, in the pre-cable days of local broadcasts, a television with magical receptivity for broadcasting the squared circle day and night. With each retelling, Granny’s wrestling passion became a caricature, and eventually, a euphemism. Whatever else the news, one often said, “Yep, still watching wrestling.” Or so I imagined. I heard these stories second and third hand, after her death, and to this day, I can’t quite say who told them to me, or when, or why.
The Art of Words Series / Microsoft Blogs / September 16, 2016 / 1,012 words