Literature Personal

My Interview with the New York Review of Books

Interesting essay samples and examples on:

I was totally tickled by Diane’s comment to the interviewer about regulars on her blog being like so many “imaginary friends” from childhood. This inspired me:

How to Change a Lightbulb

Diane Ravitch. Yes. I used to be fine with people using conventional lightbulbs, but something kept bothering me. These things use a lot of energy, and if you trace that back, you find that the energy originates with fossil fuels. So, I changed my mind because it matters what kind of planet we leave for our kids and our grandkids. I remember once when I said to Lamar Alexander, as he was leaving the room, “Are you going to turn that out?” He stopped, looked at me, and sighed. But he did it. Hah!

SomeDam Poet.

Everyone, across the nation,
seeks consistent illumination,
except for certain Republican sharks
who’d rather keep everyone in the dark.

Señor Duane Swacker, Hidalgo. Is it possible, really, to measure when a lightbulb needs changing? No, I say! [insert 20 pages of Wilson on educational measurement here]

Bob Shepherd. Look, there’s no single way to change a lightbulb, OK? Sometimes they are too hot to handle. Sometimes they are too fragile. Sometimes all they need is a jiggle. What matters, as Heidegger tells us, is engagement in the act of changing the bulb—enowning it authentically in its “readiness to hand.” Let me explain. [Insert eight dense paragraphs of mansplaiing here, along with a dozen links to poems and short stories and essays on Bob’s website, skimmed, over the past few years, by about six people.] Oh, and Trump is moron. CX: ” a moron,” ofc

Dienne77. OK, sure, go ahead and use the low-energy lightbulbs. And attack Trump for championing conventional bulbs. See where that gets you. But how much energy did Obama use up lighting the White House in the colors of the rainbow flag when the Supreme Court ruled on gay marriage? And don’t even get me started on Gore and his fuel guzzling airplane flights and multi-million-dollar mansion with its lighted, heated pool.

Linda. And what about the Catholics? Pope Pancreas VII, in Lux mundi et hocus-pocus ad nauseum, was just fine with lighting up the Vatican and churches around the world from one end to the other. Talk about waste! And what about churches everywhere still using candles like it’s the Middle Ages or lit up even when there are no services? And high-level officials like Cuccinelli who used to be candle-lighting altar boys? Where’s the outrage?

GregB. Sorry. But I just can’t. People really don’t understand. Yes, it’s important for people to have light. I get that. But Willie Brandt understood that that doesn’t mean that you just leave them on until they burn out. You turn it on, do your business, and turn it out. Bulb lasts a long, long time. It’s that simple. We keep using bulbs like this, it’s all going to be darkness soon, folks.

RT. Edison didn’t actually invent the lightbulb. He just figured out what kind of filament to use in it. Just image what the 1893 World’s Fair looked like to people used to real darkness at night when Grover Cleveland pushed a button and 100,000 bulbs illuminated the White City! Must have been like the farm, when I was a kid, before light pollution, with the Milky Way laid out like jewels above the corn fields and an owl flying across the full moon.

Lloyd Lofthouse. So, Trump probably sticks the old bulb up his _____ and it glows orange then Barr comes and dances around it and they chant “Biden will not replace us” until the Capitol Police show up to escort them out of the White House at the point of a gun but they escape and go to Russia and raise an invasion force and I’m like bring it on, you cowards!

Laura Chapman. There are actually over 428 types of lightbulbs, which you can compare here [link] and here [link] and here [link]. I did an analysis of their energy usage and longevity must say that I agree with the recommendations of this report from the Society of Electrical Engineers [link].

Mamie Allegretti. Well, there IS a step-by-step procedure for bulb changing, but let me ask you: How much is left out of any simple set of directions? What about the non-rational, nonlinear dimensions of the actual experience of darkness, transition, illumination? The Shadow and the Light. Very Jungian.

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