Buzz Bissinger (at heart)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Probably no one who knows me and knows Buzz Bissinger would imagine us to be friends.  I worry, obsessively, over unintended hurts, small provocations, unfinished thoughts.  I dance because movement is mostly granted immunity and words (often) are not.  I defer when I can, step back when I should, am intimate with shadows.  In the books I write, I lean hard on language when many of my critics wonder why I cannot figure out how to lean just as hard on conflict.

Buzz Bissinger isn't like that.  He's famous for many things—Friday Night Lights, A Prayer for the City, Three Nights in August, Vanity Fair epics, his reliably enraged Philadelphia Inquirer column, his being vivid in each and every moment.  You never lose Buzz in a room; you wouldn't want to.

We're both Penn alum.  We've sat together on a panel.  He chose an essay I wrote for a Best American Sports Writing, as if I actually know anything about sports writing (this was clearly my special lucky break).  We're both parents who care a lot about our kids. We both wonder what's next; we both hope for a better next; we take solace in gardens and cameras; we love our city; we disagree on the power and role of blogs.  Some of the best e-mails I've ever received have come from Buzz—the most honest, and the most searing.

I'm saying all this right now, today, because I just finished reading the Buzz Bissinger profile in this month's issue of Philadelphia magazine, a piece penned by staff writer Sandy Hingston.  I'm guessing there are parts of this story Buzz likes, parts he might hope off the page, parts that ring truer to him than to others.  But reading a profile like this puts Buzz, in large part, back in perspective—as a hugely busy guy with a celebrity agenda who still takes time to be friends with the quiet lit girl.  I think that says something about who Buzz is at heart.  Something that is true, that matters.


Lilian Nattel said...

That's a nice comment on him, Beth.

Beth F said...

I'll have to take the time to read the profile or pick up the magazine.

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