From Clarence Clemons and Don Reo’s Big Man: Real Life & Tall Tales (Grand Central):
“Clarence thought about a girl he knew in high school, then about a song he used to play, then about the house he grew up in back in Virginia, then about a street in Paris, then about a room he stayed in once in San Francisco, then about a painting of a child and a dog sitting on a pier, then about a bottle of wine he especially enjoyed at a restaurant in New York or maybe Boston with its gardens and grown-up houses ad tress along the river and pizza in the North End and a car, his first car, a ’62 Chevy, a burgundy convertible; and he thought about all the people who died and he thought about death itself and how his was coming someday and how scared he would be to stop living and lose it all and slip into that great blackness and would it hurt and for how long; and he thought about the endless rush of time and color and sound as he moved down the corridor like at the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey, where that guy is in the room where you’re young and you’re old and you’re young and you’re old again; and he thought about his mother and his father and his children of God and about Heaven and who would be there and would there be awkward moments like when Jackie O runs into Marilyn, and he wondered why ghosts are always wearing clothes and did that mean that shirts and pants existed after death, too; and he thought about all the things he didn’t do that he said he would, the broken promises, the broken hears, the fragments of regret scattered around all his rooms, all his days; and he thought about the rain, the soft, steady kind, the deep, soaking rain that strangely brought him comfort on the days that said that the sun would never come out again, and the rain would wash him clean if he stood in it and opened his arms to it and turned his face to the dark, weeping sky and allowed it to soak into his soul and make him one with the rain, part of it, lost in it where there was no pain and no memory and no regret, a place of peace and quiet, a place beyond hope, beyond redemption, beyond death.”
The E Street Band might still be playing in Asbury Park dives if the group had given the world the musical equivalent of this 397-word jawbreaker from its popular saxophonist and sideman for Bruce Springsteen. “Long” doesn’t equal “profound.”
Read the New York Times review of Big Man.
The Delete Key Awards are being announced in random order but numbered for convenience. This is finalist No. 3. You can also read about the Delete Key Awards on Janice Harayda’s page (@janiceharayda) on Twitter. The winner and runners up will be announced March 15 on One-Minute Book Reviews and on Janice Harayda’s page (@janiceharayda) on Twitter.
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