The first time I heard Auggie Wren’s unsentimental Christmas story was in the film Smoke, around 1996, something like that. Harvey Kietel tells the whole story in a fanastic monologue at the end of the film. If you haven’t seen it, you should check it out. It’s a good movie.
I never paid much attention to the credits, but several years later I came to learn that Paul Auster had written the screenplay and that he’s a well-known writer — several of his novels have been well-received. My girlfriend reads all his stuff. Another friend of mine thinks highly of him. I still haven’t read any of his books, but today I finally got around to reading Auggie Wren’s Christmas Story, his short story that was the inspiration for Smoke.
It is impossible for me to read this story without thinking about the movie. Sometimes that’s a bad thing. (E.g., Short Cuts, based on the short stories of Raymond Carver.) Sometimes it’s not such a bad thing. (E.g., Field of Dreams, based on W.P. Kinsella‘s novel, Shoeless Joe.) In this case, the spirit of the film complements the original writing. I recommend them both.
So to recap: “Auggie Wren’s Christmas Story” (the full text), by Paul Auster. Auggie Wren’s Christmas story (the full monologue), by Harvey Kietel. Smoke, a good movie.
It’s my wife’s birthday today. She’s the most altruistic, honest person I’ve ever known, and I can’t imagine a life without her or our daughter, Caitlyn.
Love you, Dawn. Happy Birthday!
To coincide with the new annoyances category, I’m creating an appreciations category (I didn’t want to appear too cynical; it’s just that it’s often easier to complain about things than compliment). This will include posts that compliment people, service, devices, or whatever makes one appreciate something more than usual. For example, I won’t be posting an entry about this keyboard I’m using for allowing me to type stupid entries like this; who gives a damn? Right (as if you gave a damn about other things I write).
The first item on my appreciation list: Jesus.
Haha! Had you going there for a second, didn’t I! (Not that there’s anything wrong with Christians.)
Real first item: a juice container we bought a couple of years ago. I’m not kidding. This is best juice container we’ve ever had and it was only 10 bucks. Its lid has a detachable rod that goes through its center, with a handle at the top and a rubber star-shape at the end which sits in the container. When you make juice concentrate in the container, you simply have to push the rod up and down to stir the contents: the stir stick is built in! I know! Brilliant! Now you don’t have to take the lid off, find a long spoon, stir the juice up, take the dripping spoon out, and put the lid back on before getting a drink: just push the built-in stirring rod up and down for a few seconds and you’re ready.
You have to have one to appreciate it. Honest. I’ll try to find a photo of one or take a picture of ours, because I know you’ll want one.