Brain Food #567

The value of a conversation

Thoughts of the day

I recently finished Pretend It’s a City, which only just brought the hilarious genius of Fran Lebowitz to my attention. Watching the series, directed by Lebowitz’s friend, Martin Scorsese, triggers a form of nostalgia for the hustle and bustle of a large metropolis, but it also reminds one of the power of dialogue.

Of course, the way the show is edited makes each episode a candid extended monologue by Fran Lebowitz, but behind the scenes, there is always someone asking a question.

And this is something she acknowledges herself in a printed interview, although in a sideways manner: that conversations are the vital fuel of relationships.

“There are certain relationships I think I’m great at: I’m the world’s greatest daughter. I’m a great relative. I believe I’m a great friend. I’m a horrible girlfriend. I always was. I’m great at the beginning, because I can be very romantic. But, I mean, years ago I had a girlfriend who summed me up perfectly. She said, “You know what it’s like being with you? At the beginning, every day, you asked me a hundred questions about myself. Then 50 questions, then 20 questions, then, finally, you said, ‘Can you see I’m trying to read?’ ”

The value of a conversation can go wildly beyond getting to know another person; very often, it can also lead to getting to know oneself. And perhaps what makes Lebowitz so enjoyable to listen to is that she is extremely self-aware, without being self-conscious.

Lebowitz on the cover of Interview magazine, which was founded in 1969 by Andy Warhol with the goal of creating and sharing “Intimate conversations between the world's most creative people”.

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