“My lucky life.”
That was Andy Rooney’s story title just over a month ago when, at the age of 92, he spoke in his final television essay on “60 Minutes.”
And when he died late last week, this “Rooney wanna-be” was very sad, indeed.
I guess I expected Andy Rooney would be around forever. After all, he was the grandfather of the personal “take it public” essay and the face of someone who told the unspoken truths about life.
He was awesome.
I am an Andy Rooney groupie. I wanted to be just like him and I’ve spent much time at the CBS website, watching his essay videos with a magnifying glass at my computer screen, trying to read the titles of the books he kept on the shelf behind his desk.
After much eye strain and time, I’ve managed to pull the names for three, including, “The Book of Ages” by Eric Hanson, “Fowler’s Modern Day English,” and “Giants Among Men” by Jack Cavanaugh.
I want them all (I just realized I already have the Fowler’s edition and I’m elated).
Andy Rooney once did a three-minute essay on “Clutter or Memories” and talked about, among other piles of papers, the cardboard boxes he kept by his desk where he stored ideas on paper he thought were worth keeping.
When a box filled up, he’d just start another one.
Man, would I love to go through those boxes of his today.
Yet here I sit at a desk in my very own writing den surrounded by all sorts of wisdom fairies of my own making. I have books by Eckhart Tolle and Caroline Myss, and New York Times reporter and journalist Nicholas Kristof.
I have a really big 2010 edition of “Writer’s Market” and a little tiny book called “Creative Block–500 ideas to ignite your imagination,” which I use a lot!
I now realize I have my very own clutter and memories right here on the upper shelf that includes a book of poetry I wrote as I was growing up, a pile of legal papers, family stuff, financial stuff, and thick rows of old school exercise scribblers stuffed with my creative writing and muses of the sort.
There’s a candle burning, and a container packed with more pens and pencils than I will ever need. I have my magnifying glass and a copy of “On Writing”—the best book, in my humble opinion, that Stephen King ever penned.
And oh yes, a perpetual cup of hot coffee to help speed my brain along the path of original thought.
I also have this little head-bobbing, smiling Holstein cow toy that sits by my computer. She is my writing mascot and every time I need positive reinforcement, I just tip her snout a bit and she nods “Yes.”
Today she is reminding me to give a shout out to the local farmer.
On Saturday night, I sat among farmers of one type or another at the Rainy River Federation of Agriculture’s annual dinner and general meeting in Stratton (though I’m not a farmer myself).
Farmers are awesome. I was in a room full of them that night and it didn’t take long to realize just how important the local farmer is in this district and how very hard they work. Very hard, indeed.
In fact, I could take a lesson or two from a farmer’s commitment to his or her trade. “Come to the craft any way but lightly,” as Stephen King wrote. “If you can’t, it’s time for you to close the book and do something else.”
Support your local farmer.
And I’m going to keep on writing. My lucky life. Amen, Mr. Rooney.
“My lucky life.”