Saying Goodbye to Old Companions

So far this year, three of my favorite things to read have ended their runs. First was On Language, which, though not the same without William Safire, has been one of my most regular rituals since I was about 12.

My parents always got the Sunday New York Times, no matter where we lived. My dad, always an early riser, would read the paper, organize it, and leave the Magazine on top for me. When I got up, I would go directly to On Language. When I no longer lived with my parents, I still usually got the Sunday Times to start my Sunday with the Magazine.

For most of my life the column was written by William Safire. When he died a year and a half ago, I thought no one could do it as well as he did, but that wasn't true. The column was different and I misses the voice of the curmudgeonly originator, but the pieces were equally good. In the end, Ben Zimmer wrote most of the columns and did a damn good job of it.

When he announced the end of On Language at the end of February, I got a little teary. On Language helped me discover my love of language and my desire to play with it. I could always count on it to make me think and, often, get out my dictionary. I will miss it, the ritual of it, and the fun of it.

The same day, The Ethicist also ended his run. After I read On Language, I always read The Ethicist. Randy Cohen wrote thoughtful responses to people with ethical dilemmas. The questions often dealt with things like how much effort you should put into returning found property or whether it's ethical to accept courtesy cards from the police department.

Sometimes the answers surprised me, sometimes not, but they were consistently well-written and well-considered. The questions, too, were thoughtful. It was nice to know that people want to do the right thing even if they aren't sure what the right thing is. I am sorry to see The Ethicist come to its end, but, to quote Prince, "...all good things, they say, never last."*

Which brings me to the last goodbye, at least thus far in the year. Hannah, just breathe has shuttered her storefront, so to speak, and I will miss her lovely writing, her insights, and starting my day with a reliably good read.

Being in the Pacific Standard Timezone meant that, most days, by the time I woke up, Hannah had posted already. It was my first stop of the day - usually before I even got out of bed. By the time I read her latest post, there were usually already a few comments.

The commenters also had great insights and thought-provoking things to say. I often went back throughout the day just to read the comments.

I feel a bit forlorn at having lost all three of them so close together, but change is what makes life interesting. I thank all of these writers for enriching my days and providing inspiration and companionship.

Here's to new adventures for us all.

*Sometimes It Snows in April


hannahjustbreathe said...

I just got teary reading this, my friend! Because I also mourned the close of both "On Language" and "The Ethicist"!! I *still* find myself looking for "On Language" in the table of contents of the Times Sunday mag. Old habits die hard...

And really, what kind words about my blog. I can honestly say I will miss reading your comments as much as you will miss reading my blog. Because you always, ALWAYS, said the wittiest and most thought-provoking and outstanding things.

We will be in touch, though, I know. Our words to one another won't be lost. No, not one bit.

Speaking of...it's my turn to get a letter out to YOU. :)

Dorothy said...

We *will* be in touch and that is a great consolation to me. I hope to hear of your adventures soon!