Thursday, April 16, 2015
This Book Will Change Your Life - Benchwarmer by the Josh Wilker.
Our father felt that for an artist to be successful they needed to figure out their niche and exploit the fuck out of it. Though to be clear, he probably didn't use the word "exploit" or even "fuck." Still, he felt it was a necessity, which brings us to the case of the Josh Wilker, and by extension his new new joint Benchwarmer, which is also known as "A Sports-Obsessed Memoir of Fatherhood." Wilker knows sports, he is possibly the consummate authority on sports writing in terms of sports memoir, or more specifically memoir as filtered through the lens of sports. Case in point, Wilker's earlier memoir Cardboard Gods, on which we wrote "the real challenge may be how the writer accomplishes this in a way that sounds vibrant and different and brings new perspective and language to the discussion, continuing an ongoing dialogue in fresh and exciting new ways," in trying to articulate Wilker's use of his love, even obsession, with baseball cards to make sense of his painful, and at times out there, childhood, something so many have written about before, but which Wilker had figured out how to make new again. Which brings us back to Benchwarmer, a memoir of fatherhood as almanac, and encyclopedia, and the utilization of everyone from Steve Bartman to Chris Webber, to make sense of how fucking hard parenting is. The lack of sleep. The new found chasms in the relationship with one's spouse. The feeling of anger and moments of near violence. How sucky everything is and how incompetent one feels in every possible way. Now imagine you've already spent your life dodging chasms, feeling sucky, and full of lack, and then you add a child to the mix? Because then you're just fucked. Which is not to say any of this is unique to Wilker, or that many, present company included, haven't written about it, but this is Wilker's gift, taking the known and filtering it through his compulsions, and sport. This is his niche and he owns it like no one else. Which would make my father very happy and might just change your life. And now we've gone full circle.