not killing myself is a personal achievement but you cant really brag about that at dinner parties
Depends on the company you keep.
Today is Richard Pryor’s birthday.
At thirteen I was introduced to the name Richard Pryor. I’d only written small sketchcomedy with 101% of the ideas stolen from early Saturday Night Live. But when I listened to Richard Pryor’s first selftitled album then “Craps,” & “That Nigger’s Crazy,” I became obsessed. Over the next few years I owned every one of his albums, saw all his standup films, “Live & Smoking” being my favorite, searched endlessly on eBay for a tshirt, still have one of three. He was the first standup comedian to make me smile. Not chuckle because of joke telling. But smile because he was on stage acting. His characters, in “Craps:” Big Black Burtha, the police raid in the pool hall, the conversations he’d have back’n forth in various characters, I smiled because I knew I’d heard these voices out in the world before. But until Richard performed them, it hadn’t occurred to me these people were anything special. At one time I was able to recite every word of “That Nigger’s Crazy.” My own writing went from sketches to listening for what was around me, finding the bizarre, fast & revealing material, otherwise avoided or disregarded.
At eighteen I contacted Jennifer Lee Pryor, sent her a oneman play I’d put together, compiled of Richard’s material, which I meticulously transcribed from moments of each album, told his personal story in a linear rhythm, through his own words. She wrote me back telling me to abandon it, they’d never grant me permission to produce the play, & for me to kickrocks. I wrote back, thanked her for reading the material & obeyed their wishes. Richard passed away exactly one month later, December 2005.
I consider Richard Pryor to be a leading American poet of the Language School in the line of William Carlos Williams & Allen Ginsberg. His honesty, his “earheart” a phrase Ginsberg used for seeing/hearing & notating precision in poetics, makes Richard Pryor one of my most informative influences.
Happy Birthday & Thank You.
The Waitomo Glowworm Caves attraction is a cave at Waitomo on the North Island of New Zealand, known for its population of glowworms, Arachnocampa luminosa. This species is found exclusively in New Zealand. A glowworm uses its glow to attract food and to burn off its waste. It’s tail glows because of bioluminescence, which is a reaction between the chemicals given off by the glowworm and the oxygen in the air. This chemical reaction produces light, which the glowworm can control by reducing the oxygen to the light organ. Insects fly towards the light and get stuck in the sticky lines that the glowworm hangs down to catch food. Glowworms also use their glow to put other creatures off eating them.