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“You are living with ghosts...”

Paul Auster, in conversation with Lou Reed, first published in Dazed & Confused, April 1996:

"So many people that we've loved and cared about are not here any more, but you carry them around inside you. The older you get, the more your life becomes a quiet conversation with the dead. I find that very sad and at the same time very comforting. You know, the older you get, the more of a spiritual being you become. You are living with ghosts and they have a lot to tell you. And if you listen carefully you can learn a lot."

The conversation is collected in Lou Reed: The Last Interview and Other Conversations (Melville House, 2015). The book is very good - the interviews show Reed in his many moods, from cranky to thoughtful, but his talk with Auster was the best of all. I've never read Auster, but I admire the sensibilities he displays throughout their talk, and should probably delve into his work.

January 24, 2019 in Books, Music | Permalink


Auster's movies "Smoke" and "Blue in the Face" are much better than I expected. Lou Reed appears in the latter.

Posted by: Paul at Jan 25, 2019 4:47:44 AM

This reminds me of a line in Ted Berrigan's poem "People Who Died": "My friends whose deaths have slowed my heart stay with me now." He talks somewhere (introducing this poem maybe) about people who live outside your heart and people who live inside your heart. "There are no dead people," he says. In other words, they're living with you, inside your heart.

Posted by: Michael Leddy at Jan 25, 2019 2:21:00 PM

I'm not a religious believer, so I don't think any actual afterlife exists. But there is a sort of immortality in that you live beyond your death in the memories of people who knew you. Friday was the fourteenth anniversary of my dad's passing, and he made such a mark on me that I feel he's still alive, though physically absent.

Posted by: Pete Anderson at Jan 27, 2019 9:44:48 AM

For many years, my cats stalked me... as they had in life.

Posted by: Robert M Roman at Jan 29, 2019 10:50:05 AM