Thursday, May 11, 2006

With Socrates at Dooney's, Before He Left for Berlin

TORONTO—On a sunny afternoon at Dooney’s Café on Bloor Street, in the neighbourhood known as the Annex, Stan Persky, Vancouver’s Socrates, was sipping a coffee and holding forth on the affairs of the world and on the meaning of Dooney’s Café.

Dooney’s is something of a literary fulcrum in this city, but quite apart from the writers known to frequent the place, what is just as important is that Dooney’s proprietor, Graciano Marchese, is quite possibly the warmest, friendliest man in Toronto. On this point Persky insisted, but he quickly returned to the case he was making for the decline of literary discourse in Canada, the withering of the journeyman’s art of copy editing, and an overall rise in cultural illiteracy, all the while conceding the possibility that what was really going on was he was just becoming something of an old crank.

No way, I says to him.

“I have a sweet temperament, and that saves me from a lot of pain,” he responds. “But I’m mildly resigned to despair about the circumstances.”

So Persky is perhaps not quite as jolly as he once was, but there is, nonetheless, a stubborn happiness about him. Despite his insistence that humanity must be seen in its darkness as well as its light, Persky, at 65, is nothing near cranky.

The rest is here.


Post a Comment

<< Home