Morning Has Broken
Excerpted from The Bicycle Rider in Beverly Hills, the autobiography of William Saroyan, © 1952:
Morning is best when it begins with the last hours of night.
For years I have known midday mornings. There is something to be said for them. There is a quality of confusion and overlapping in them which is sometimes useful, but in the end the good morning is the the morning before daybreak, the morning of dark silence, the morning in which the coming of light is witnessed, the morning which gives a man the entire day.
The local library is awful, so I buy a lot of books at estate sales and charity sales.
I had been on kind of a dry run lately. Carrol O’Connor’s autobiography, I Guess I’m Out of Here, was a portrait of a bitter and petty old man, and I was sorry I read it. He remembered every bad review every critic had ever written of him, and his book was mostly ranting against the unfairness of it all.
Ruth Gordon’s autobiography, My Side, was almost unreadable. Her anecdotes were long and pointless, and couldn’t hold my interest. There was a ten-page description of her getting dressed to ride the train, including what she ate for breakfast and who came to tell her to hurry up and what clothes she wore and who she talked with and what everybody said to her and what she said back, and that was the entire story. If she went someplace important and did something significant that day, she omitted it. So, as much as I love her work as an actress, the book was a disappointment.
But I also picked up William Saroyan’s autobiography (quoted above), and it has been a joy. (Of course, he’s the only professional writer in this trio, so he had an advantage from the start.) Like his fictional works, he transports us to a misty beautiful time and place, and makes us nostalgic for places we’ve never been and people we’ve never met.
It was the best dollar I spent that day.