One of the best things about putting a story out into the world is all the amazing stories you get back in return. This month Bernard Meisler and the other folks at Sensitive Skin were kind enough to publish “Very Serious Naches,” my essay/review of “A Beautiful Noise,” the Neil Diamond musical on Broadway. It was about how I was never a fan until I went to see the show and found myself unaccountably uplifted and moved by his life story and songs, including, of course, his megahit “Sweet Caroline.”
After the essay went online, a friend wrote to tell me about a trip she took to Palm Springs with her husband. They rode the revolving tram up the sheer side of a mountain, just a 10-minute ride but with an altitude change of 6,000 feet. He wasn’t happy. She watched him grab the hand bar in fear. But on the way down the mountain, the tram conductor put on a CD of “Sweet Caroline” and everyone in the car burst into song. As the music played and voices swelled, she saw him relax his grip and start taping the scene. “It’s kind of funny,” she wrote, “that what I remember most about that tram ride and the meal at the top of the mountain was the descent with a crowd of happy, singing strangers.”
Then there was our friend Joe, a University of Pittsburgh alumnus and devoted fan of the Pitt Panthers. He told me that Pitt students have been singing “Sweet Caroline” at every home game for years. “You should come with us one day,” he said and sent me a link, which was so much fun to watch that for a brief moment I wanted to move back to western PA just to go to Pitt home games with him and his partner and sing “Sweet Caroline.”
All of which is to say: You put something out into the world and you get so much back in return! Big hugs and thank-you’s to everyone who wrote to me saying that “Very Serious Naches” gave them very serious naches, or at least struck a chord.