Thursday, April 22, 2021


 The blogoverse is a little messed up today, I don't mind saying, by an internal event, the unexpected death (quietly, in his sleep, of causes as yet unknown) of the blogger known as Lance Mannion, among the finest writers of us all, a blogger's blogger if you like, who saw the potential of the form as a literary form and made it work as hardly anybody has done, working with a range of subjects that included, obviously, the rage against the machine that we all express, but also constantly coming back to writing itself, and movies, offering some of the best (and most generous) criticism on the Toobz, and professional lit-prof instruction too—his last post was just one supremely writerly quote from a master, Scott Fitzgerald, in The Last Tycoon—

It was my first inkling Wylie was a writer. And while I like writers---because if you ask a writer anything you usually get an answer---still it belittled him in my eyes. Writers aren't people exactly, or, if they’re any good, they’re a whole lot of people trying so hard to be one person. It’s like actors, who try so pathetically not to look in mirrors, who lean backward trying---only to see their faces in reflecting chandeliers.

—and a plug for a 2009 New Yorker article in which it was cited, as if he was worried, selflessly as usual, that Arthur Krystal's 12-year-old piece might not have been appreciated as much as it deserved.

But he had another shtik as well that was unique, I think, covering his and his family's lives in upstate New York in a normal routine of crisis and adjustment, reminiscent of James Thurber in his "The Night the Bed Fell" vein (that was Roy's reference), often hilarious, and then, latterly when Mrs. M. or his father, "Pop",  or both of them might be in a medical emergency, hilarious and unbearably poignant at the same time, of which I'll point you toward a piece he chose himself for the 2018 Jon Swift Roundup, "Of Pop Mannion, Mrs M, spinach pasta, and the persistence of memory";

A moment like this has happened just about every day since Pop died. Mrs M and Pop were very close. I’ve only had to lose my father once. She’s lost her beloved father-in-law five or six times and will likely lose him a few more until the memories finally make it to their proper place in the attic.

I debated with myself over what order to tell this, whether I should put the sad part or the funny part first. Yep. There’s a funny part. Obviously, that was the sad part. So here’s the funny part.

So read it and RIP to a really good writer.

Update from Lance/David's son Oliver/Jack and link to a gofundme:

No comments:

Post a Comment