Before Varid left, I handed her all ten Archie Digests that I owned, stacked them so all the spines lined up perfectly. I wanted them to look solid and substantial. ‘It’s how I feel about you,’ I wanted to say. But her English was not good enough to understand. For the next several years I would say some variation of these words to many different people — but no one’s English was ever good enough to understand.
In a world besotted with writers who recycle their own paragraphs or who fabricate quotes, David’s commitment to the original must also be memorialized. He was a man so committed to precise language that, during an 2010 interview, David and I spent five minutes looking up the word ‘vitiate’ to ensure that we both understood its nuances.
Glass is a writer’s writer, or more aptly a writer’s radio host. He understands how narrative works, how to build tension, how to place words within sentences and sentences within paragraphs, how at the end of a story a character must be transformed. Every good writer knows that the most important, most evocative information should come at the end of a sentence or paragraph, and even in conversation he does this. Take his earlier words, for example: “They’ve chosen, as their medium, food. I love that.” He doesn’t say: “I love that they’ve chosen food as their medium.” Because he knows — probably instinctively — that what comes last will carry the most weight; he knows where inside a sentence the power lies — or rather where inside a sentence lies the power. And so even in his speech you hear the pregnant pauses, the places where, if he were writing the conversation, he would use colons, semicolons and dashes.