Tag Archives: The Conversation

The Conversation

The Conversation” by Forrest Gander (who won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry with his collection Be With)

All the while he talks to
the boy, their son, on the phone,
she is interrupting, telling him something
to say, not to say, indicating
that she needs to talk to the boy
herself. Rather than dampening
her enthusiasm or trying
to listen to both at once, finally
he hands her the phone. And rather
than resentment, what he feels
inside himself is the primordial
upwelling of tenderness.

Ah, yes; somehow I feel that Gander was observing us when he wrote this, though I’m not absolutely certain that Andy feels “primordial upwelling of tenderness” when I grab the phone from him. You’ll have to ask him. Or better yet, go to today’s Andy’s Corner and find out about his phone-chat disability.:)

“The Conversation” is also the title of another good read. I have been a fan of The NYTimes Gail Collins for a long time. Gail is impressive (and I feel I can call her by her first name, since she’s just about my age). For example, she was the first woman to edit The Times editorial page and did that for 6 years; she wrote the well-received 2009 book The Amazing Journey of American Women; and in 2017 she joined with Bret Stephens to have “The Conversation” which appears every Monday in The Times…a written conversation – usually about politics – which I always enjoy.

The appeal of “The Conversation” is that both the participants are always very civil to each other, even though they may have wildly diverse takes on the political scene. Obviously, I’m not the only one who follows them. Their April 3 column had 1,300+ comments.

Maybe I’m also unusually interested in the two-some since their age difference is almost identical to the age difference between me and our son, Travis. In fact, Stephens – who has written for The Wall Street Journal and The Jerusalem Post, as well as The Times – was born the same month and year as Travis – November, 1973.

Gail Collins and Bret Stephens in conversation – May of 2017

Personally, I would like to have a conversation with some very dear family members (“hello, Brooklyn!”) about chicken thighs vs chicken breasts. It may be just as tense as a conversation between liberals and conservatives, but I’ll try to incorporate Gail’s approach. If she can do it, I can do it. Rather than lambasting the family with “who in god’s name eats dry, flavorless chicken breasts?!,” I will take the high road. I will say that maybe there is a solution to our differences and let us strive – together – to find this solution.

And, in fact, the solution IS a solution. A solution of warm water and salt. OMG – if all solutions were so easy.

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