edward abbey

The Missing Ed Abbey NBC News Segment, From 1985

Towards the end of Edward Abbey’s One Life at a Time, Please, there’s a curious little essay called “TV Show” that’s loosely in the form of a television script, although I’ve always remembered it by the subtitle, “Out There On the Rocks.” When I read this delightful little essay—part travelogue, part deadpan frontier humor, part poem about our place in the world—I assumed it had been broadcast and quickly wrote a short note to Ed Abbey, care of the Henry Holt publishing company in New York City, asking how I could get a copy of this segment. Back in the days of three networks plus PBS, long before streaming video and YouTube on every cell phone, it was a special treat to see your favorite cult author on television.

When the author in question is consistently anti-television, it was even more rare. So I dropped my note in the corner mailbox and promptly forgot about it, as an earlier and very earnest letter to Ed Abbey from the high-school version of myself had been politely ignored years before.

The surprise was very real when the mailman delivered a postcard stamped TUCSON AZ many months later, with an image of City Lights Bookstore on one side and a brief handwritten message from Abbey himself on the other. (more…)


Greenfriar Bookshelf: “Desert Solitaire,” by Edward Abbey

Desert SolitaireLast Thanksgiving, Gizmodo veterans Joel Johnson and John Mahoney started a nice thing called Just One Book, with the idea that people probably had one very important book in their lives, and maybe they could write a blurb about it and … I have no idea, really, because the day I found out about it, Joel was hired to be my semi-boss at Gawker Media and Just One Book was never updated again, the end.

Except: I typed a quick thing about a book I still like, Ed Abbey’s Desert Solitaire, and sent it to Joel. Or, into the voidMight as well put it on Greenfriar as our inaugural ripoff of Just One Book, which we will call “Only One Book” or maybe “That 1 Book.” Or, we will not call it any of those things, because this is the Greenfriar Bookshelf, and Matt Langer is supposedly coding up a whole Online Bookstore for these various titles beloved by your various writers at Greenfriar. (more…)