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It's a one-sided relationship.


And so I had to make sure that what I was mourning or feeling bad about was the Do you know what I mean? I wanted to be very judicious and clear what I was being sad about. On cancer treatments that led to him losing the use of one of his arms.

David Rakoff

I mean, I'm a perfectly normal-looking Jewish guy. My face has never been my fortune, nor has my body It's just not on my shopping list. With the arm, I'm not talking about beauty so much as I'm actually talking about symmetry I'm fortunate in that I am 46 years old, and I do have a nifty little career so that the comma, noun after my name is David Rakoff comma writer. I'm very fortunate in that that's kind of established, so even if I do lose my arm I have managed to establish an identity that is based on my internal self, and for that I feel tremendously lucky.

David Rakoff INTERVIEW (2010)

You can't win all the contests and then lose at one contest and say, 'Why am I not winning this contest as well? And since there is no answer as to why me , it's not a question I feel really entitled to ask. I have access to great medical care. My general baseline health, aside from the general unpleasantness of the cancer, is great. And it's great because I'm privileged to have great health. Excerpt below is from a Rakoff essay, Streets of Sorrow.

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Worth reading entirely. Most of the businesses are still shuttered. It is all of four days old, but I see that it is patched. No doubt it left the workshop patched. There, against the salmon pink of the five-pointed star, is a cloud of darker red, like a bruise or the small beating heart of a tiny creature. There is such hope and poignancy, an almost animal frailty in that blemish, that I stop in my tracks for a minute. People have been coming out West with stars in their eyes for so long, and for just as long, some have returned to where they came from, their hopes dashed.

And that would be so much sadder.

David Rakoff: A man who sensibly prepared for the worst - The Globe and Mail

But how and what can we learn from them? There will always be people who are much better at doing this or doing that, but you are the only you. Kait Dunton, bite size.

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  • Rakoff attended high school at the Forest Hill Collegiate Institute , and graduated in He worked in Japan as a translator with a fine arts publisher. His work was interrupted after four months when, at age 22, he contracted Hodgkin's disease , a form of lymphatic cancer he referred to as "a touch of cancer".

    He returned to Toronto for 18 months of treatment, including chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery.

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    • Before becoming a full-time writer, Rakoff worked for 13 years in the publishing industry, including as a publishing assistant and a publicist. Eventually he was able to earn a living from his writing, becoming a full-time writer in That day, Rakoff wrote to Sedaris immediately to ask if he could publish Sedaris' works which he later confessed he had no intention of doing, since he was desperate to leave publishing.

      His writing also appeared in Business 2. He wrote on a wide and eclectic range of topics. Rakoff published three bestselling collections of essays, which include his own illustrations. Fraud includes essays that are largely autobiographical and humorous. Rakoff stated, in relation to the theme of the book, "The central drama of my life is about being a fraud, alas. The work contains material from public radio's This American Life and from Outside and Salon , which was significantly lengthened and re-written, as well as a few new pieces.

      The book received praise from many critics, garnering near-unanimous acclaim. In a review Publishers Weekly wrote that "a talented new humorist springs onto the scene: Rakoff has a rapier wit, slashing in all directions with slice-of-life insights and cutting remarks, sometimes nicking himself with self-deprecation in his dexterous duel with the American experience.

      David Rakoff Quotations

      Other reviews of the book [26] and audio-book [27] were mixed. The reviewer in The New York Times mentioned by way of criticism that Sophocles and Freud had pursued the same idea that forms the book's focus, that is, that we are defined by our fears. Some of the essays were originally published in shorter form elsewhere and some original. Rakoff said that the moral of the book is that there should be "a little more guilt out there" and "we could all, myself included, count our blessings, acknowledge our privileges.

      Lee said the book was "no more than a collection of vaguely related magazine pieces" rather than "a coherent seriocomic manifesto", that some essays were off-theme, and not about narcissism and excess.

      A third book of essays, Half Empty was published in September Rakoff contributed essays to the following anthologies of non-fiction published by other writers:. Rakoff was a regular contributor to the radio program This American Life on Public Radio International , in which each week writers and performers contribute pieces some documentary, some fiction on a chosen topic, usually in the first person.

      The piece appears in Fraud , his first collection published in He says that This American Life let him have his own take on things and break the bounds of just being a journalist.

      David Rakoff: Why I Write (And Why It Only Gets Harder)

      Most of his radio performances were recorded in the studio, but some were performed live.