Harry Crews / The Violence That Finds Us
edited: Saturday, March 31, 2012
By Alan Abrams
Rated "PG" by the Author.
Posted: Saturday, March 31, 2012
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apropos the death of Harry Crews
this morning at breakfast, reading his obit in the New York Times, Janet asked me if I had ever read anything by Harry Crews. I'd seen the headline myself, and the name rang a bell--but I had spaced it out.
Then it hit me--in an instant, I connected his name with the Playboy essay I read back when the issue was published, in 1984. I remembered the vignette in the Montana restaurant--which left the auther broken and battered--but somehow elated--with great clarity, in almost every detail.
I'd had my own brushes with encounters like that, but have been fortunate--for the most part--to have been able to step back from the brink of actual violence.
I say fortunate--because that brink--or division--between everyday activity and mayhem--is a tissue thin membrane. Given the seeming randomness of the outcome of the Montana encounter--there must have been the subtlest differences in character or disposition--or the look on one's face--that distinguished me from Harry Crews--and which kept me from that brutal world of bruises, broken noses, and buckshot.
Regardless, it was the vividness of Harry Crews' prose which kept that essay alive in my memory, these past 28 years.