Cover image for One long river of song : notes on wonder
Title:
One long river of song : notes on wonder
Uniform Title:
Essays. Selections
ISBN:
9780316492898
Edition:
1st ed.
Physical Description:
xix, 251 pages ; 24 cm.
Contents:
Joyus voladoras -- A shrew -- Tigers -- Leap -- Two hearts -- The deceased -- Eating dirt -- The anchoviad -- Illuminos -- Times tables -- My devils -- We did -- The sea -- Catch -- The meteorites -- First kiss -- [Silence] -- The final frontier -- Jones Beach -- The wonder of the look on her face -- The old typewriter in the basement -- The old Methodist church on Vashon Island -- Testimonio -- Mea culpa -- Brian Doyle interviews Brian Doyle -- Pants : a note -- 20 things the dog ate -- The Daoine sídhe -- Angeline -- The way we do not say what we mean when we say what we say -- On not "beating" cancer -- The hawk -- The praying mantis moment -- Heartitecture -- The greatest nature essay ever -- The creature beyond the mountains -- Hoop -- Our daily murder -- Because it's hard -- Irreconcilable dissonance -- Lost Dog Creek -- Raptorous -- An leabharlann -- The bullet -- Fishering -- Tyee -- Everyone thinks that awful comes by itself, but it doesn't -- The Four Gospels -- God -- Clairtonica Street -- Dawn and Mary -- His last game -- Memorial Day -- 100th Street -- God again -- Beer with Peter -- The lair -- A song for nurses -- Cool things -- Address unknown -- Hawk words -- Bird to bird -- To the beach -- Chessay -- Lines hatched on the back porch of Eudora Welty's House in Jackson, Mississippi -- Joey's doll's other arm -- The room in the firehouse -- Selections from letters and comments on my writing -- Billy Blake's trial -- On All Souls Day -- Two anesthesiologists -- Joey -- A prayer for you and yours -- His listening -- His weirdness -- The tender next minute -- His holiness the Dalai Lama, manifestaion of Chenrezig, bodhisattva of compassion, stops the car along the road to watch children play soccer -- Two on two -- What were once pebbles are now cliffs -- Last prayer.
Added Author:
Summary:
When Brian Doyle passed away at the age of sixty after a bout with brain cancer, he left behind a cult-like following of devoted readers who regard his writing as one of the best-kept secrets of the twenty-first century. Doyle writes with a delightful sense of wonder about the sanctity of everyday things, and about love and connection in all their forms: spiritual love, brotherly love, romantic love, and even the love of a nine-foot sturgeon. At a moment when the world can sometimes feel darker than ever, Doyle's writing, which constantly evokes the humor and even bliss that life affords, is a balm. His essays manage to find, again and again, exquisite beauty in the quotidian, whether it's the awe of a child the first time she hears a river, or a husband's whiskers that a grieving widow misses seeing in her sink every morning. David James Duncan sums up Doyle's sensibilities best in his introduction to the collection: "Brian Doyle lived the pleasure of bearing daily witness to quiet glories hidden in people, places and creatures of little or no size, renown, or commercial value, and he brought inimitably playful or soaring or aching or heartfelt language to his tellings." A life's work, One Long River of Song invites readers to experience joy and wonder in ordinary moments that become, under Doyle's rapturous and exuberant gaze, extraordinary. --
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Summary

Summary

#1 SEATTLE TIMES BESTSELLER
A playful and moving book of essays by a "born storyteller" ( Seattle Times ) who invites us into the miraculous and transcendent moments of the everyday
When Brian Doyle passed away at the age of sixty after a bout with brain cancer, he left behind a cult-like following of devoted readers who regard his writing as one of the best-kept secrets of the twenty-first century. Doyle writes with a delightful sense of wonder about the sanctity of everyday things, and about love and connection in all their forms: spiritual love, brotherly love, romantic love, and even the love of a nine-foot sturgeon.
At a moment when the world can sometimes feel darker than ever, Doyle's writing, which constantly evokes the humor and even bliss that life affords, is a balm. His essays manage to find, again and again, exquisite beauty in the quotidian, whether it's the awe of a child the first time she hears a river, or a husband's whiskers that a grieving widow misses seeing in her sink every morning. Through Doyle's eyes, nothing is dull.
David James Duncan sums up Doyle's sensibilities best in his introduction to the collection: "Brian Doyle lived the pleasure of bearing daily witness to quiet glories hidden in people, places and creatures of little or no size, renown, or commercial value, and he brought inimitably playful or soaring or aching or heartfelt language to his tellings." A life's work, One Long River of Song invites readers to experience joy and wonder in ordinary moments that become, under Doyle's rapturous and exuberant gaze, extraordinary.


Author Notes

Brian Doyle (1956-2017) was born in New York and attended the University of Notre Dame. He worked at U.S. Catholic Magazine , Boston College Magazine and, up until his death, was the editor of Portland Magazine . He wrote a number of novels and works of nonfiction, and his essays appeared in the New York Times , Atlantic Monthly, Harper's Orion, American Scholar, America Magazine , and many more. He won the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature, the 2017 John Burroughs Medal for Distinguished Nature Writing, the Oregon Book Award, three Pushcart Prizes, among others, and had multiple essays included in Best American Essays .


Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

The life and work of Doyle (A Book of Uncommon Prayer), the late writer and long-serving editor of Portland Magazine, are honored with this fine collection of his essays. Longtime friend and writer David James Duncan (The Brothers K) begins with an intimate introduction that situates Doyle as a literary cult figure: not popularly known, but passionately admired by some for his distinctive punctuation-defying verbal flow and his everyday epiphanies. Doyle, who died of brain cancer in 2017, trained his perceptive eye on a wide range of subjects during his career, but frequently wrote on wildlife (such as hummingbirds and sturgeon), the nature of family, and the relationship between creativity and spirituality. Doyle's curiosity is insatiable ("you see an owl launch at dusk, like a burly gray dream against the last light, you flinch a little, and are awed...") and his self-described Celtic-mystic disposition spots the transcendent regularly ("Time stutters and reverses and it is always yesterday and today"). As much haunted by the language of James Joyce as the lessons of Jesus, Doyle sees and celebrates what happens every day in each essay of this eclectic collection. This "best-of" should enlarge his circle of admirers. (Dec.)


Kirkus Review

A posthumous collection of stunning mystical prose from the award-winning author and editor.Doyle (1956-2017) was well known as the longtime editor of Portland Magazine, but he also published multiple novels (Chicago, 2016, etc.) and numerous volumes of short stories, "proems" (hybrids of prose and poems), and essays. Though his nonfiction appeared in many renowned publications, including the New York Times, the Atlantic, and Harper's, he had a cultlike following for his lesser-known writing on spirituality. After Doyle was diagnosed with a fatal brain tumor in late 2016, David James Duncan, a friend, novelist, and essayist, proposed this collection to benefit Doyle's family. While the book may prove to be of financial value to his survivors, the richest beneficiaries will undoubtedly be those who read it. Doyle's spirituality defies categorization. He was raised Catholic and does occasionally draw from that tradition, but his catechism isn't comprised of doctrine or theology. Rather, much like Thornton Wilder's Our Town, Doyle employs the ordinary to catch the reflection of a world that is "still stuffed with astonishments beyond our wildest imagining, which is humbling, and lovely, and maybe the only way we are going to survive ourselves and let everything else alive survive us too." The author looks for God not in a book or a building but in a group of kindergarteners, at the post office, in a doll with one arm. Doyle's mysticism is similar to spiritual writers like Thomas Merton and Henri Nouwen, but his prose is informal, instantly relatable, and quite often delightfully unorthodoxe.g., "I am standing in the hospital watching babies emerge from my wife like a circus act." Though each topic spans at most a few pages, Doyle's prose is so expansive and dripping with visceral detail that even the briefest vignettes are often a wondrous adventure.This brilliant compendium of spiritual musings will resonate with people of any faithor of none. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Booklist Review

The late Doyle called the contents of this generous, posthumous collection essays although they have the rhythm of poems and the lyricism of songs. Indeed, some of the pieces are what Doyle called proems, hybrids of prose and poetry. Regardless of form, they are uniformly brief typically one-to-three pages although a handful are longer; for example, an 11-page elegiac essay about a summer spent as a camp counselor. The subjects range widely, from Doyle's sister's silence to a random shooting, from hummingbirds to the human heart to the Catholic mass (Doyle was raised an Irish Catholic). Few essays are overtly religious, but all are infused with qualities of spirit, goodness, and grace. Doyle was a wonderful stylist, obviously in love with series and adjectives; his three children are small, quicksilver, russet, testy, touchy, tempestuous mammals. Although love, he says, is our greatest and hardest work, he is generous, almost profligate in filling his work with it, especially when it is targeted at his children, who are small miracles because he and his wife were told that they couldn't have children but proved the doctor wrong. The book concludes with a piece called A Last Prayer appropriately one of gratitude, for readers will be equally grateful for this lovely book and its beautiful contents.--Michael Cart Copyright 2019 Booklist


Library Journal Review

Philosopher Michel de Montaigne wrote essays in the 16th century as a form of self-exploration, seeking to examine small incidents in life in ways that drew unintuitive or enlightening conclusions. Nowhere is this endeavor better exemplified in recent times than with the writings of Doyle (1956--2017). In this collected volume of some of his most appreciated work, we see Doyle at his most mundane and profound. These two extremes, he suggests, are what make up the fabric of our existence. Doyle touches on the inherent spirituality in encounters he has with animals, trees, and people. As a positivist, Doyle focuses on the wondrous things that we have to be thankful for. Doyle was an unapologetic Catholic but not dogmatic; he saw holiness in a burbling stream, in the rapid beat of a hummingbird's heart, and in the smile of his children. VERDICT Doyle imparts a sense of breathless curiosity and joy in this blend of spirituality and philosophy; probing readers will find surprises and solace.--Brian Renvall, Mesalands Community Coll., Tucumcari, NM


Table of Contents

David James Duncan: "A Mystical Project Born of Joy and Desperation"
Forewordp. xiii
I That the Small Is Huge, That the Tiny Is Vast, That Pain Is Part and Parcel of the Gift of Joy, and That This Is Love
Joyas Voladorasp. 3
A Shrewp. 6
Tigersp. 8
Leapp. 11
Two Heartsp. 14
The Deceasedp. 16
Eating Dirtp. 18
The Anchoviadp. 20
Illuminosp. 22
II There Was a Kid Who Was and Isn't But Is
Times Tablesp. 27
My Devilsp. 28
We Didp. 31
The Seap. 34
Catchp. 36
The Meteoritesp. 40
First Kissp. 51
[Silence]p. 52
The Final Frontierp. 57
Jones Beachp. 60
The Wonder of the Look on Her Facep. 61
The Old Typewriter in the Basementp. 63
The Old Methodist Church on Vashon Islandp. 66
III We Can Take Off Our Masks, or, If We Can't Do That, We Can Squawk Through the Holes in Them. A Squawk Is Better Than Nothing
Testimoniop. 71
Mea Culpap. 73
Yesp. 76
Brian Doyle Interviews Brian Doylep. 81
Pants: A Notep. 90
20 Things the Dog Atep. 92
The Daoine Sídhep. 94
Angelinep. 97
The Way We Do Not Say What We Mean When We Say What We Sayp. 99
On Not "Beating" Cancerp. 101
The Hawkp. 103
The Praying Mantis Momentp. 105
IV This Blistering Perfect Terrible World
Heartchitecturep. 109
The Greatest Nature Essay Everp. 114
The Creature Beyond the Mountainsp. 116
Hoopp. 125
Our Daily Murderp. 127
Because It's Hardp. 130
Irreconcilable Dissonancep. 133
Lost Dog Creekp. 136
Raptorousp. 138
An Leabharlannp. 140
The Bulletp. 142
Fisheringp. 145
Tyeep. 147
Everyone Thinks That Awful Comes by Itself, But It Doesn'tp. 148
The Four Gospelsp. 150
Godp. 153
V We Are Better Than We Think
Clairtonica Streetp. 157
Dawn and Maryp. 158
His Last Gamep. 160
Memorial Dayp. 163
100th Streetp. 165
God Againp. 167
Beer with Peterp. 169
The Lairp. 172
A Song for Nursesp. 174
Cool Thingsp. 176
Address Unknownp. 179
Hawk Wordsp. 181
Bird to Birdp. 183
To the Beachp. 185
VI I Walked Out So Full of Hope I'm Sure I Spilled Some by the Door
Chessayp. 191
Lines Hatched on the Back Porch of Eudora Welty's House in Jackson, Mississippip. 193
Joey's Doll's Other Armp. 195
The Room in the Firehousep. 198
Selections from Letters and Comments on My Writingp. 200
Billy Blake's Trialp. 202
On All Souls Dayp. 217
Two Anesthesiologistsp. 219
Joeyp. 221
A Prayer for You and Yoursp. 222
His Listeningp. 227
His Weirdnessp. 229
The Tender Next Minutep. 232
His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Manifestation of Chenrezig, Bodhisattva of Compassion, Stops the Car Along the Road to Watch Children Play Soccerp. 233
Two on Twop. 236
What Were Once Pebbles Are Now Cliffsp. 238
Last Prayerp. 240
Gratias Vobis Agop. 243