"This is a book I love."--Bret Lott, author of Jewel and Before We Get Started: A Practical Memoir of the Writer's Life
From a Minnesota book award-winning author, an essay collection that explores what is most essential to him, from the difficult lives of jazz musicians, to trout fishing, to the shifting population and mores of suburbia.
“Here’s the thing,” Richard Terrill writes. “There’s always the thing, isn’t there, and most often, not just one?” Terrill, an award-winning poet and memoirist, asks through this series of wide-ranging, funny, and sometimes gut-punchingly vulnerable essays, what is essential? Maybe trout fishing, the music of Bill Evans, or the whys of dog ownership. Maybe Yasujiro Ozu’s Tokyo Story, We Chat, a musician’s early hearing loss, and spying on the neighbors. Or maybe the coming apocalypse, almost getting lost in the woods, trespassing, town clean-up days, and the reason Miles Davis never listened to his own recordings. At times self-effacing and funny, at times outspoken and provocative, Terrill fixes a clear eye on the contradictions in our present moment. “We’re at that point in a journey where you know where you’re going, but you don’t know where you are,” he writes. “The destination should come anytime now.”
"The jazz trio mix of Richard Terrill's estimable gifts--as musician, poet, and essayist--come together in the wide-ranging, harmonically complex essays of Essentially. Though Terrill may be right that most music audiences 'listen with their eyes,' the audience for these essays will delight in putting ears to the page: to hear, as Terrill did as a child, the aunts' and uncles' hyperbolic conversations or, while kayaking, the 'washboard rattle' cries of sandhill cranes or, outside his suburban home, the irritating bark of a neighbor's dog, which, in the essayist's finely tuned imagination, is 'jagged like a nerve under a pitchfork.' And though Terrill confesses he likes to 'keep my own company,' in these essays he cannot. With his pitch-perfect voice, his understated wisdom and humor, he keeps inviting us to move closer, to sit with him in all the essential places of our world and 'just listen.'"--Rebecca McClanahan, author of In the Key of New York City: A Memoir in Essays
"It's hard to write a blurb about a book you love, because summary words on love are so hard to put, well, into words. This is a book I love. Because Richard Terrill has written about all the things that matter: music, yes, and yes, listening, and loss, and home, and play, and death, and the moon, the sun, fish, film, love. Life. And, for better or worse, the glory in them all, the joy and the beauty, but joy and beauty burnished with the recognition of time passing. This is a ruminative book, this is a funny book, this is a musical book. this is a heartbreaking book. This is a book I love."--Bret Lott, author of Jewel and Before We Get Started: A Practical Memoir of the Writer's Life