maron*

READING AS SELF-HELP

I am surrounded by an empire of unread and partially read books. Titles like: The Denial of Death (read), A Thousand Plateaus (God, I tried), The Family (Manson phase), The Hero with a Thousand Faces (skimmed hard), Gravity’s Rainbow (nope), and The Illuminatus! Trilogy (of course). There are several bibles, The Aeneid, The Odyssey, The Anthology of American Poetry. I have Freud, Reich, Barthes, Fromm, Spinoza, Plato, Hunter S., DeLillo, Bangs, Benjamin, graphic novels, Hellblazer comics, beat poetry, cookbooks. 

I am not bragging. I am embarrassed. Most of the books I have are indicators of my insecurity. I really wanted to be an intellectual. I really wanted to understand Sartre. I thought that was what made people smart. I have tried to read Being and Nothingness no fewer than twenty times in my life. I really thought that every answer had to be in that book . Maybe it is. The truth is, I can’t read anything with any distance. **Every book is a self-help book to me. Just having them makes me feel better. I underline profusely but I don’t retain much. Reading is like a drug. When I am reading from these books it feels like I am thinking what is being read, and that gives me a rush. That is enough. I glean what I can. I finish some of the unfinished thoughts lingering around in my head by adding the thoughts of geniuses and I build from there.** There are bookmarks in most of the denser tomes at around page 20 to 40 because that was where I said, “I get it.” Then I put them back on the shelf. 

Terry Gross To Marc Maron: ‘Life Is Harder Than Radio’

Maron: You’ve mastered and defined something that is uniquely yours that has been done by many people for centuries probably and you set the standard for what an interview is and how to put one together on radio or anywhere.

Gross: Thank you.

Maron: And you know, you are what I think most people—you are home to most people when it comes to NPR, that your voice is more comforting than probably any voice in their lives, I would probably say.

Gross: That’s really nice of you to say.

Maron: And now I don’t know why I’m tearing up. Jesus Christ.

Gross: Can I just say something about you?

Maron: What?

Gross: I really, I just love your work so much and I’ve learned from listening to you in your podcast because you’re just so present, you’re so in the moment with people and you have such interesting taste. I love hearing you talk about the music that you love and your interest in [Jack] Kerouac and that you know who Herbert Huncke is, you know all this stuff and you don’t do it in a know-it-all way, you just kind of slip it in to get more out of them. I mean that in the best sense, that’s what an interviewer should do. And the other thing is, you’re no bullshit—you’re just no bullshit, you’re no bullshit in your comedy, you’re no bullshit when you’re talking to other people.

Maron: I don’t think you are either, Terry Gross.

Gross: And I just want to say, the reason why I was comfortable enough to tell you and everyone else here the things that I told you tonight is that I trust you and that you’re no bullshit and I couldn’t look you in the eye and not tell you the truth.