A tonic

This is from a marvellous interview with Fran Lebowitz that’s in the New Yorker:

I want to switch topics and ask you a bit about Toni Morrison. Everyone felt the loss of her, but largely as a literary icon or as an author they loved. You experienced it as a friend. The two of you seem like such an odd couple. What drew you together?

I’ve missed Toni every day since she died. I’ve known a lot of smart people in my life, but I only ever knew one wise person, and that is Toni. The second we met we became incredibly close friends. We did a reading together in 1978, that’s how I met her.

You used to talk with her on the phone every day. What kinds of things did you talk about?

Everything. At Toni’s memorial service, Angela Davis was there, and we were talking about how Toni never thought anyone was guilty of a crime. Do you remember the Menendez brothers’ trial? Toni, who loved detective stories and trials and stuff like that, told me that the Menendez brothers were innocent. One of them had gone to Princeton for, like, five minutes, during which time Toni had met him. And Toni was a much nicer person than me. My meeting someone does not necessarily make me like them, but to Toni it does. The Menendez trial was one of the first televised trials, and Toni and I watched every single day on the telephone together. And the trial started at noon, because it was in L.A. I was supposed to be writing, of course, and I thought, I’m spending the whole day on the phone watching television, but it must be O.K., because so is Toni. And then I found out that Toni got up at five in the morning, and by twelve she had already done a full day’s work.

We talked about everything. Forty years of talking.

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