From The Desk Of Amy Rigby: “Happiness Is A Choice You Make: Lessons From A Year Among The Oldest Old” By John Leland

Amy Rigby is back with The Old Guys (Southern Domestic), her first solo album since 2005’s Little Fugitive. A veteran of NYC bands Last Roundup in the ’80s and the Shams in the ’90s, Rigby recorded the 12-track The Old Guys with husband and musical partner Wreckless Eric in upstate New York, where the couple resides. Not only is Rigby currently on tour in support of her new LP, she’s also guest editing all week.

Rigby: I haven’t read this book yet, but it’s based on one of my favorite recent features in the New York Times where music and culture writer John Leland wrote a series of profiles of residents of the city aged 85 and older, then kept up with his subjects for a few years. These weren’t grim caricatures but just the day-to-day realities of a diverse group—what they struggled with and what kept them going. I especially looked forward to reading the segments on filmmaker Jonas Mekas, who is still involved in projects, still making art and running around the city into his mid-90s, beginning last year with a poem he wrote for the annual New Year’s Day marathon poetry reading at St. Marks Church. Just like the Raincoats sang “No one teaches you how to live,” nobody teaches you how to get old, and as friends my own age drop and my dad hits his 90s, I find myself looking around for examples of what an acceptable elderhood looks like so I can work toward it. Even the title of this book contains an encouraging bit of the wisdom of age.