One of my half dozen favorite writers passed away recently, David Rakoff.
David Rakoff was a frequent contributor on NPR, and had a particular outlook I always appreciated.
My very favorite form of fiction is the short, observational – and funny – essay.
Rakoff was a master.
Wikipedia has this to say about him:
“David Benjamin Rakoff (November 27, 1964 – August 9, 2012) was a Canadian-born writer based in New York City who was noted for his humorous, sometimes autobiographical non-fiction essays. Rakoff was an essayist, journalist, and actor, and a regular contributor to Public Radio International’s This American Life. Rakoff described himself as a “New York writer” who also happened to be a “Canadian writer”, a “mega Jewish writer”, a “gay writer” and an “East Asian Studies major who has forgotten most of his Japanese” writer
Rakoff died of cancer in Manhattan on August 9, 2012.
If you’d like to read an excerpt from one of his books, you can find it here.
The New York Times obituary quoted him, too, and you can read that, if you’re interested, here.
The end of the above obituary is this:
When Mr. Rakoff’s cancer returned and he risked amputation, he ruminated on life without his arm and shoulder. It was not so much the physical loss that worried him, he said, but something far larger.
“There are other extrafunctional and noncosmetic realities I have to consider,” Mr. Rakoff wrote in “Another Shoe,” his essay about the tumor. “How does someone without a left arm know he’s having a heart attack, for example?”
I will miss him.