Posts tagged with “john irving”

Posted 2 months ago

Birthday thoughts

I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t fall asleep again. I read about Robin Williams and I’m saddened and shocked in ways that surprise me. If you had asked me eight hours ago to list my favourite actors, or my favourite films, the top ten list wouldn’t have included neither Robin Williams, nor one of his many wonderful (and some terrible) movies (because who doesn’t have at least one terrible movie they are ridiculously fond of? Mine is Strange Days). But I’m looking back now and I can’t help but thinking that I grew up with Robin Williams. He was a nanny for all of us. From Mork to Professor Keating, from Mrs Doubtfire to Genie, he was a constant companion of my childhood and youth - a playful friend, a teacher. For my more grown-up self he was Garp. So many hours spent in his company. And now, at 5:03am as my birthday kicks in, I realise that it’s the things we don’t know we know that make us. What’s under the surface, what’s at the core of us has been moulded and sculpted by experiences and emotions that we are not in control of. That’s beautiful - and scary, if you find that below the surface lies something darker than you expected. (I had this very powerful experience on Saturday at the latest Marina Abramovic performance: a sense that once you are alone with yourself, something is exposed that can be extremely revelatory. I was surprised to find a sense of peace and resolution in myself at that time - I started off from turmoil, worry, mental and physical hyperactivity, accompanied by some of the demons that have been pestering me in the last five or so years - self-doubt and fear of the future. A pleasant inner glow has been accompanying me since. And my Chinese friend C. informed me that Jupiter moved into Leo a month ago, so it’s currently, apparently, a great cosmic time for those of us born under its star.) So here’s what we learn from the passing of a great man. That “the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse.” I have this Frank O’Hara poem stuck in my head, and I’m thinking let’s move on, keep passing the open windows and beware the undertoad, and love each other and take good care of ourselves, and try to enjoy this crazy world such as it is with its ups and downs, despite war, depression and the unbearable melancholy of Sunday nights, and a happy fucking bangarang birthday to me


Oh! kangaroos, sequins, chocolate sodas!
You really are beautiful! Pearls,
harmonicas, jujubes, aspirins! all
the stuff they’ve always talked about

still makes a poem a surprise!
These things are with us every day
even on beachheads and biers. They
do have meaning. They’re strong as rocks.


Posted 1 year ago


As baseball season gets into full swing around the country — and in countries around the globe — we celebrate Yale Joel’s classic photo of New Hampshire Little Leaguers anxious to get out to the diamond.

(Yale Joel—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

If you didn’t think of A Prayer for Owen Meany you clearly don’t know me very well.

Posted 1 year ago

My second film of 2013 was John Irving und wie er die Welt sieht*: a German-made documentary about my favourite living author, John Irving. While the film lacks narrative structure and doesn’t quite probe its fascinating subject to my satisfaction, it does contain a lot of drool-worthy material for the committed Irving fan (including scenes in which he makes pizza, explorations of Vienna and Amsterdam as represented in The Hotel New Hampshire and Until I Find You, and many a walks in Vermont with Dickens, Irving’s old chocolate Labrador). 

*This is a play on the German title of The World According to Garp - Garp und wie er die Welt sah. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you better get reading.

Posted 1 year ago
Human beings are remarkable - at what we can learn to live with. If we couldn’t get strong from what we lose, and what we miss, and what we want and can’t have, then we couldn’t ever get strong enough, could we? What else makes us strong?
John Irving, The Hotel New Hampshire (via damaged-and-dangerous)
Posted 1 year ago


“Good habits are worth being fanatical about.” ~ John Irving

Complement with William James on habit, then learn how to rewire your habit loops.

Posted 2 years ago
I just love it when certain people feel free to tell writers what the correct words are. When I hear the same people use impact as a verb, I want to throw up!
John Irving, In One Person (via johnirvingthings)
Posted 2 years ago
Immigrants are immigrants all their lives!
John Irving, A Son of the Circus (via johnirvingthings)
Posted 2 years ago

John Irving in London, about 3m away from me, at last night’s Shaw Theatre talk in London. I know I go on about this, but he’s been my favourite living novelist for years, and it was amazing to be in his presence. 

This is a typical expression - thoughtful, deep, somewhat intimidating. But when you least expect it, this stern mask breaks into an uproarious bear of a laugh, the laugh of a man who can see comedy in tragedy (and vice-versa).

Posted 2 years ago

One Morning at Home with John Irving - Shaul Schwarz - TIME

Whether on a grand-tour TV show or in an architectural magazine, it’s not too hard to see what a famous person’s house looks like. It’s also, thanks to paparazzi and tabloid photos, easy to see a picture of a famous person. But it’s less easy to capture iconic cultural movers and shakers truly at home—in both senses of the phrase.
That’s what photographer and videographer Shaul Schwarz aims to do with a new series of videos for TIME, debuting today with Schwarz’s visit to the home of author John Irving. “The environment sets you up to meet a person you already know,” says Schwarz.
The photographer asks his subjects what they do when they’re alone at home, really relaxing; for Irving, that question revealed a room devoted to wrestling, the author’s version of what Schwarz calls an “away-from-the-world zone.” Not that it’s automatically easier to access that intimacy when you meet a person in his own space. “Even if you have a new friend and you go to his home,” says Schwarz, “it takes a little bit to break the ice.” But when it does break, the end result is an intimate look at a celebrity, tending more toward a Sunday-morning-coffee-with-a-friend feel than a red carpet one.
“The location is, at the end of the day, some kind of reflection of the person. It’s all a vehicle to show a different look at the person,” says Schwarz. “We all know you can tell a little bit about a person from where he chooses to live.”

And a good morning to you.

Posted 2 years ago
via Time Out London Live presents an evening with John Irving
I booked this so fast I got General Admission tickets no. 04 and 05.

via Time Out London Live presents an evening with John Irving

I booked this so fast I got General Admission tickets no. 04 and 05.