What We’re Reading
Amadou Hampâté Bâ, a famous historian and ethnographer from Mali, is often quoted as saying: “When an old man dies, a library burns to the ground.”
It’s profound. But what if you’re able to save a few books out of that library by snagging some history and memorizing a line or two of their poetry before it burns? If you can manage that, you keep some small portion of that person alive. This is why, in many cultures, we routinely say the names of the deceased.
As we close out 2023, now is a good time to acknowledge those who have passed on this year. Tina Turner. Matthew Perry. Harry Belafonte. Cormac McCarthy. Raquel Welch. Norman Lear. Sinead O’Connor. Sandra Day O’Connor. Rosalynn Carter. Dick Butkus. Jimmy Buffett. And many more. Perhaps you have your own people to add to this list.
We say their names. We celebrate their life and their art.
And at Medium, you rebuild their libraries by telling their stories.
- Harry Belafonte made an indelible impression upon writer Robin A Henderson.
- Here’s a lovingly written tale of Shane MacGowan, the former frontman for Irish band The Pogues. Fellow musician Preacher Boy wrote about opening for MacGowan in England.
- Jerry Springer was writer Lorie Kleiner Eckert’s neighbor. She writes of his friendliness.
- Glenn Jeffers writes of his mother, and of how to survive grief at the holidays.
There are many more memories linked below. Take your time with them. And, if you have a story of a recently-deceased loved one, I encourage you to share it in the comments and to create your own Medium list of 2023 folks to remember.
May all their memories be a blessing.
— Adrienne Gibbs, Director of Content at Medium
What We’re Reading
She was simply the best
He mentored icons such as Quincy Jones, Jay-Z, Jim Brown, Pharrell Willians, Whitney Houston, Lionel Richie, Snoop Dogg, Queen Latifah and Jamie Foxx — plus he advised several U.S. presidents
- Raquel Welch was a bombshell beauty queen, and a Latina icon. Trisha Ready celebrates “The Legend That Is Raquel Welch.”
- NFL superstar Jim Brown was not just a sports icon, but a civil rights hero. As Omar Zahran writes, Brown “changed the way we look at athletes forever.”
She asked for pay parity, then she got a pink slip
His songs are immortal — but the mere mention of his name is the best Austin Powers line ever
When the People You Grew Up With Start Disappearing, It’s a Little Unsettling
“[Cormac] McCarthy has taught me that the value you carry in your heart is authentic and it truly matters, even if you and everything you love will eventually fade to dust, then memory, then absolute oblivion. Nothing lasts, but feeling connected to the world, belonging to it, lies at the very heart of what it means to be fully human.”