“In one of his more notable generosities back in Washington [as editor of the City Paper], he purchased copies of Joseph Mitchell’s ‘Up in the Old Hotel’ for the entire staff. He signed mine, ‘To Jelani, This will show you the way.’ Not quite. That was a distinction that belonged largely to him.”
— From “Postscript: David Carr (1956-2015)” by Jelani Cobb at The New Yorker (Feb. 13)
I was pleased — if momentarily surprised, given their generational divide — to see that Joe Mitchell’s admirers included David Carr, the irreplaceable, too-soon-gone New York Times media writer.
Coincidentally, the New Yorker this week published the last fragment of Mitchell’s never-finished memoir, in which he reflects on “a hodgepodge of pasts,” including “the past of a small farming town geographically misnamed Fairmont down in the cypress swamps and black gum bottoms and wild magnolia bays of southeastern North Carolina, a town in which I grew up and from which I fled as soon as I could but which I go back to as often as I can and have for years and for which even at this late date I am now and then all of a sudden and for no conscious reason at all heart-wrenchingly homesick….”