A few weeks ago, I woke up way too early. I don't know why I woke up early. I never know why my body wakes me up at 5:45am but it does. I grabbed my phone and opening twitter, immediately saw the news that my favorite writer and journalist, David Carr had died very suddenly in the offices of the New York Times.
I put the phone down and rolled over, and very very much wished I could have unseen that news. I'm not what you would call a news junky. A more apt metaphor for how I interact with the world is content truffle pig. I root around, through the muck, until I find the choicest morsels, and then guard and savor that source with my life. Carr was a writer that I discovered when I first moved to New York City. He wrote for the Times, and even within the hallowed style of the Great Grey Lady, his mid-western honesty and pluck jumped off the page.
He wrote about music and media and the way that he wrote about these things made me believe that HE believed that the two mediums had a capacity to move us, to educate us, to change how the world worked and how we interacted with the world. When he wrote about a band, he wrapped himself in the sounds that they made, and then told you about how that made him feel. When he wrote about media, he took a new device and wrote about the impact that he thought it might have on our grandchildren's grandchildren.
He was honest, but not cynical. He loved getting excited by things, but not everything excited him, far from him. When he got excited, I always took notice. He made me think about things from different perspectives. He made me notice details and angles that I would normally have missed.
His book, The Night of the Gun, made me love him. It made me love his capacity for work. His love of his family. His humbleness, his lack of pride and ego, his ability to grind down and do what he believed was necessary to be great. He also talked about how grateful he was, to life, for the gift of existence. His quote about New York City, "The trick to New York City is not to be so busy grinding your way to the center of the earth that you fail to notice sparkle of the place," sums him up in a nutshell. Grind yourself down, suck blood from the stone, but remember that sparkles exist, and that noticing them keeps us soft and keeps us young.
Who will make us notice things now? Who will get us excited about things now? What will we do now that David Carr isn't here to help us see things through his quick eyes?