One Long River of Song: Notes on Wonder

One Long River of Song: Notes on Wonder


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From a "born storyteller" (Seattle Times), this playful and moving bestselling book of essays invites us into the miraculous and transcendent moments of everyday life.

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316492898
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 12/03/2019
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 61,239
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

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.

Table of Contents

Foreword David James Duncan: "A Mystical Project Born of Joy and Desperation" 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 Voladoras 3

A Shrew 6

Tigers 8

Leap 11

Two Hearts 14

The Deceased 16

Eating Dirt 18

The Anchoviad 20

Illuminos 22

II There Was a Kid Who Was and Isn't But Is

Times Tables 27

My Devils 28

We Did 31

The Sea 34

Catch 36

The Meteorites 40

First Kiss 51

[Silence] 52

The Final Frontier 57

Jones Beach 60

The Wonder of the Look on Her Face 61

The Old Typewriter in the Basement 63

The Old Methodist Church on Vashon Island 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

Testimonio 71

Mea Culpa 73

Yes 76

Brian Doyle Interviews Brian Doyle 81

Pants: A Note 90

20 Things the Dog Ate 92

The Daoine Sídhe 94

Angeline 97

The Way We Do Not Say What We Mean When We Say What We Say 99

On Not "Beating" Cancer 101

The Hawk 103

The Praying Mantis Moment 105

IV This Blistering Perfect Terrible World

Heartchitecture 109

The Greatest Nature Essay Ever 114

The Creature Beyond the Mountains 116

Hoop 125

Our Daily Murder 127

Because It's Hard 130

Irreconcilable Dissonance 133

Lost Dog Creek 136

Raptorous 138

An Leabharlann 140

The Bullet 142

Fishering 145

Tyee 147

Everyone Thinks That Awful Comes by Itself, But It Doesn't 148

The Four Gospels 150

God 153

V We Are Better Than We Think

Clairtonica Street 157

Dawn and Mary 158

His Last Game 160

Memorial Day 163

100th Street 165

God Again 167

Beer with Peter 169

The Lair 172

A Song for Nurses 174

Cool Things 176

Address Unknown 179

Hawk Words 181

Bird to Bird 183

To the Beach 185

VI I Walked Out So Full of Hope I'm Sure I Spilled Some by the Door

Chessay 191

Lines Hatched on the Back Porch of Eudora Welty's House in Jackson, Mississippi 193

Joey's Doll's Other Arm 195

The Room in the Firehouse 198

Selections from Letters and Comments on My Writing 200

Billy Blake's Trial 202

On All Souls Day 217

Two Anesthesiologists 219

Joey 221

A Prayer for You and Yours 222

His Listening 227

His Weirdness 229

The Tender Next Minute 232

His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Manifestation of Chenrezig, Bodhisattva of Compassion, Stops the Car Along the Road to Watch Children Play Soccer 233

Two on Two 236

What Were Once Pebbles Are Now Cliffs 238

Last Prayer 240

Gratias Vobis Ago 243

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