Mr. Sorkin

Apparently Aaron Sorkin suffered a bad stroke recently. I certainly wish him well; despite my litany of issues with his work over the years, he is still responsible for some of the best things I’ve ever seen, and I still tend to catch up with his stuff eventually. His current project is a revival of the Lerner-and-Loewe musical Camelot, for which Sorkin is providing a whole new book; this intrigues me greatly as the main knock on the original Camelot was always “Great songs, lousy book.” So we’ll see. If nothing else, I expect to learn how Camelot incorporates walk-and-talk scenes, how often characters either agree with each other or answer in the affirmative with “Yeah”, or discuss the finer points of Gilbert and Sullivan.

Sorkin has struggled with addiction for years, so to learn now that he’s been smoking a lot for years is no surprise:

“Mostly it was a loud wake-up call,” Sorkin told the publication. “I thought I was one of those people who could eat whatever he wanted, smoke as much as he wanted, and it’s not going to affect me. Boy, was I wrong.”

Sorkin added later, “There was a minute when I was concerned that I was never going to be able to write again, and I was concerned in the short-term that I wasn’t going to be able to continue writing ‘Camelot.’”

The writer originally did not plan to go public with his stroke, but he decided to talk about it with The Times because “if it’ll get one person to stop smoking, then it’ll be helpful.” Sorkin said for a long period of time he was smoking two packs of cigarettes a day.

Ouch. But if he’s continuing to work against these addictions, good for him.

Here, by the way, is one of those things Sorkin wrote that I adore. This is from Season Two of The West Wing, in which Leo invites Republican commentator Ainsley Hayes to his office so he can offer her a job, after she has mopped the floor with Sam Seaborn in a televised debate-style show. This scene is just full of charm and rhythm:

This is on my list of things I wish I could write so well.

Best wishes to Mr. Sorkin on his recovery and his conquering of nicotine.



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