I’m going to get existential today, and there is nothing you can do about it – ponder that line for a moment – so, for those who would like to skip the Erin Day in the Erin Day Article, the following is for you: Al Smith, a local broadcast journalist of Kentucky fame for over 50 years, will join the lovely folks at Carmichael’s Bookstore this Saturday, December 8th, starting at 1pm. We are talking about the Frankfort Avenue location. The address is 2720 Frankfort Avenue. I have that memorized now. The phone number, too: (502) 896-6950. Al Smith’s book is a memoir. It’s called Kentucky Cured: Fifty Years in Kentucky Journalism. It costs $19.99 in paperback. I think, I find, I actually like paperbacks better. Kentucky Cured ruminates on Smith’s incredible career in reporting, his dealings in “cause journalism” and his discovery of the fantastic and rich history our dear Kentucky offers to its homelanders. I really do love living in Kentucky; if you ever asked, that’s what I would say. Smith is going to sign this book as part of Frankfort Avenue’s Olde Tyme Christmas celebration. There might be cookies (NOT VERIFIED). You can find them close by either way. I’ve been craving an iced sugar cookie from the Homemade Pie Kitchen. That needs to happen soon. It’s going to be 63 degrees and rainy on Saturday during Olde Tyme Christmas – stormy weather usually makes bookstores cozier, so this should be added incentive to walk into Carmichael’s, shake hands with the good peeps, buy some books, hear some stories and get everything gift-wrapped by the truly lovely, lovely people who work for my favorite booksellers. Buy local. Love local. Live local (you can’t help this one, if you’re thinking technically). So, again: Al Smith. Journalist. Memoir. Kentucky Cured: Fifty Years in Kentucky Journalism. Carmichael’s Bookstore. Frankfort Avenue Olde Tyme Christmas. Saturday, December 8th, at 1pm. Christmas is coming.
That’s 318 words of informative reporting to help you plan your weekend and do it with literary pizzazz – it actually sounds really, really nice. Especially the part about cookies. That was an off-the-cuff flash of genius I added. I didn’t plan that one.
Here’s the article I want to write about Al Smith; here’s how he inspired me today:
Christmas is 19 days away. It’s really not that many. Perhaps if you are 5 – and the agony of eternity is jingling oh-so-merrily, oh-so-incredibly-slowly away – 19 days is akin to water torture. Santa Claus is water torture. But it’s nothing. It is actually quite depressing how much nothing there is to 19 days as to their incredible speed. Days are supposed to be precious, right? A gift, right? Those are the things we print on cardstock and mail to each other a few times a year. Good Luck. Happy Birthday. Merry Christmas. Thank You.
Many combinations of two words.
The paper is usually nice and flourished; sometimes there is glitter involved. People like these things. Or – well, people say they like these things. Or – well, people assume they are supposed to like these things. Or – well.
People hate these things. I hate these things. Love the Earth. Save a tree. Don’t send my anything you didn’t write yourself. Don’t send me anything.
Give me yourself. That’s cliché, too.
Point: in 19 days everything that ever was, ever, can suddenly stop. That can happen in 19 minutes. 19 seconds. 19 increments-of-time-smaller-than-that. Or 19 syllables. 19. 19 letters. Whatever. Things change. Everything changes. Did you know this? That sunrise this morning: different. You’ll never see that again. The coffee beans that woke you up: different. Grown, cut down, roasted – gone now. The skin cells sloughing off in your coat: different. The balance of chemicals, minerals, enzymes: different. The combination of water molecules in the river: different. The number of birds you passed. The humans alive on the planet today. YOU = DIFFERENT.
And that’s every day. That’s every day. But there’s no panic; there’s nothing noted on the calendar as a changed day – this is not a time for feasting and bedazzled warm wishes or snow globes from Target that say JOY – do you have JOY? Really? – because it’s just a nondescript day on the calendar in a handful of numbered measurements of time that relate the position of the sun’s light to the our Earthly darkness. It’s one of 19 days until Christmas Day – and that day was dyed the color red on the page called “December” here on the wall. Because it’s more important than the ones with blue dye.
Whatever. You are changed all the time, folks. Don’t make me say it anymore. Notice it. Notice it because it is gradual and sneaking and will murmur and murmur and murmur without your knowledge until the day comes when your Present Reality is so different from your Past Reality that your jaw drops open and you are faced with a minor (or major) Crisis of Self because you didn’t pay attention to the fact that your body is alive and your hair is growing and your blood is changing and those-are-not-the-same-sparrows.
So let’s now think about Al Smith. Quickly, yes, I’ll think here very quickly, I promise. He gave 50 years to a career in journalism. 50 years which amounts to something like 18,250 days. That’s two of the Life-as-I-Haved-Lived-It-Thus-Far (yes, I’m 25). Journalism requires someone who can see. To clarify: someone who can See. They (we?) are paid to witness things – all, as many, most of the things – and then tell everybody who couldn’t see. Didn’t notice. Go back and re-read all 303 words I wrote in the last three paragraphs. Now think about 50 years again.
You want to read Al Smith’s memoir. And, now that I’ve said all this, I do too.
Christmas is 19 days away. I don't know what's going to happen. But Christmas is coming, and you should consider doing something about it. Start here: wake up and take a good look around you – and here I mean Look.
Kentucky Cured: Fifty Years in Kentucky Journalism. $19.99 in paperback at both Carmichael’s Bookstore locations, with author Al Smith to sign copies at the Frankfort Avenue store this Saturday, December 8th at 1pm. 2720 Frankfort Avenue.
Image: Courtesy of Carmichael’s Bookstore website www.carmichaelsbookstore.com