Published Daily. Except When Not.
Friday, November 5
We have an oddly personal relationship going here, you and I, in this daily conversation about publishing that occasionally diverges, from my little wisecracks to broken refrigerators, school events, and back again.
As mentioned on Monday, I've had anniversaries on my mind this week--though today's occasion is of an entirely different nature.
As a result, this edition of Lunch goes further afield than ever before; it's actually about something quite personal (though very tangentially related to PL) and thus is my greatest indulgence since starting this newsletter. But it's what I need to do today.
With that in mind, if you want to put this mail away now I understand completely, and will visit you again Monday bearing publishing news.
Thirty years ago, my father, Gordon Victor Cader, died at age 48, after a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer.
I loved and admired him in the ways I imagine any 12-year-old would love his Dad; he was funny and kind (shades of his impish wit and language play may be found here from time to time), smart and affectionate, with a slightly unnatural but generally charming interest in Civil War battlefields, fishing, excessively worn sport shorts, and the Baltimore Colts.
Gordon Cader was one of the youngest-ever graduates of the John Hopkins Medical School. An "old-fashioned" internist with a passionate commitment to patient care-and an equal devotion to sharing that tradition and those values with Hopkins students and interns-he was known in this tight-knit medical community as the "doctor's doctor." In other words, he was the one who all the other doctors wanted to have taking care of them, and in many ways he was the kind of doctor that many of them aspired to be. He both embodied the best of the "Hopkins tradition" and made it stronger, through example and through personal effort.
Only after he died did I hear from an unimaginably large circle of friends, colleagues and patients of their deep affection and enduring admiration for my Dad's skills as a clinician and the great humanity with which he applied them. Only then did I began the journey of knowing him not just as a father but as a man. And only then did I come to understand that in the community that mattered most to him, he was a quiet giant--and that in even a life cut short, he lived more, and left more, than many could ever hope to.
It's a pretty rare thing, in the noise of every day life, to be offered a window into your own self--but that's what happened to me recently in thinking about my father and the time passed. Every time I'm asked to explain the curious course and furious intensity that's led me to create and develop this funny electronic publishing village of Lunch/Marketplace we now inhabit together, I've had an array of different explanations.
It turns out that the truest reason was eluding me all along: a part of me has simply been striving to build the kind of deep, connected and essential community that my father built around himself, trying to be the kind of man that he was.
Most days in life it feels like we're driving all the time, without necessarily knowing where we're going or why. Just recently, I feel as if I've glimpsed the map and started to understand why I'm on this particular road. Whether you knew it or not, with your kind attention, your abundant enthusiasm, and your sharing of this passion to build and connect a community around something that matters so much to us all, you've helped steer me to a course that feels right now as if it's headed true North, For both joining and directing me on this journey, and for this rare window into your daily lives, I am profoundly grateful.
And in loving memory of the quiet, gentle, powerful and everlasting model of Gordon Cader, with a nod to fathers everywhere, today I will appropriately avail myself of our longstanding "except when not."
"Writing is considered a profession, and I don't think it is a profession. I think that everyone who does not need to be a writer, who thinks he can do something else, ought to do something else. Writing is not a profession but a vocation of unhappiness. I don't think an artist can ever be happy."
PRACTICAL MARKETING [Courtesy Zornhau, 2005]
"They should put the 1st couple of pages up in subway adverts. Having read them several times, you'd feel compelled to try the book - if it was any good."
PLATE OF SHRIMP [Courtesy Alex Cox’s REPO MAN, circa 1984]
"A lot of people don't realize what's really going on. They view life as a bunch of unconnected incidences and things. They don't realize that there's this like lattice of coincidence that lays on top of everything. I'll give you an example, show you what I mean. Suppose you're thinking about a plate of shrimp. Suddenly somebody will say like "plate" or "shrimp" or "plate of shrimp" out of the blue, no explanation. No point in looking for one either. It's all part of a cosmic unconsciousness."
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