“There’s this guide of aphorisms.…” Jeremy Robust is saying. He catches himself. “I’m like a strolling guide of aphorisms.”
Right here, an exhaustive record of everybody he quotes or references by identify in my presence: Henry James, T.S. Eliot, Walker Percy, Kenneth Lonergan, Mark Strand, Hilary Mantel, Karl Ove Knausgård, Dustin Hoffman, Glenn Gould, Stanley Kunitz, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Rainer Maria Rilke, Anthony Hopkins, Meryl Streep, Charles Bukowski, Steven Pressfield, Steven Spielberg, M. Scott Peck, Ron Van Lieu, Carl Jung, Franz Kafka, Barry Michels, Peter Brook, Thomas Kail, Jiddu Krishnamurti, Cate Blanchett, Bob Dylan, LCD Soundsystem, John Berryman, and John Keats speaking shit about Lord Byron.
Someplace between Jung and Kafka, I’ve to ask: What’s with the quotes?
“Folks have been making enjoyable of me about it for so long as I can bear in mind,” he says. “I had an previous girlfriend who used to name me Kierkegaard.”
I used to be ready for the quotes. Robust was ready for me to be ready, which might be why he prefaces plenty of them with “I’m positive I sound like a jackass once I say stuff like that” or “I’m simply going to maintain quoting shit, as a result of that is who I’m.”
The behavior registers much less as a pretension than an earnest compulsion to soak up what he can from the world and share what’s significant to him. You possibly can see that a part of his thoughts working in actual time. After I point out the idea of arrival fallacy—the phantasm that after we attain the objective we’re striving towards we’ll attain lasting happiness—he retains on referencing it with me. After we encounter a candy greyhound combine on our stroll, her proprietor tells us that she’s a lurcher, a Britishism for a selected form of mutt that has a pressure of sight hound. Robust later makes use of the time period to consult with himself. “After I married my spouse,” he says, “she introduced my breeding up a notch.”
He’s kidding, however acknowledges that when he’s together with her European household through the holidays, sporting their greatest black-tie across the Christmas tree, “it seems like a really far world from the one I got here from.”
That world was working-class Jamaica Plain, Boston. Mother was a hospice nurse. Dad labored in juvenile-detention facilities. Whereas Kendall Roy has all the cash on the planet however not an iota of parental love, Robust speaks, time and again, of counting on the latter. After I ask if his mother and father watch him on Succession now, he says, “I believe my mom might be upset by it. She cherished once I performed James Reeb in Selma. The darkness of Succession is tough for her.”
As a baby, sensing his mother and father’ stress over their monetary precarity, he got here up with an authentic music to cheer them up known as “Poor, So What?” (He sings the refrain for me, which fits: “Pooooooor…so what?”) When he was 10, his household moved to the wealthier suburb of Sudbury. They struggled to slot in, however it supplied Robust with the supposed alternatives. In his case, that meant throwing himself into the theater program. (It’s startlingly straightforward to image Robust as a precocious youngster actor in a newsboy cap.)
Appearing turned “a approach to really feel of worth, to have shallowness, to really feel seen and valued in a neighborhood I didn’t in any other case really feel that I belonged in,” Robust says. When he was an adolescent, he wished, as youngsters all do, that he had a extra fascinating backstory. However we are able to’t select our origins. And, in any case, they mildew us in ways in which we are able to’t all the time see on the time. “The specter of an unlived life might be the factor I’m most afraid of,” he tells me. “My mother and father have very lived lives. However there was a way that they gave every part to my brother and I, however possibly didn’t give a lot to themselves or comply with what might need been. I’d see methods by which individuals cease themselves or succumb to our personal interior resistance. That resistance I noticed because the enemy.”
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