Writing a novel brings out the little boy in Steven Wright

Writing a novel brings out the little boy in Steven Wright

At 7 years old, Harold already has some pretty advanced thoughts. Why, for instance, is time measured forward and backward, “but never off to the side”? Harold is the brainchild of Steven Wright, the Boston comedian whose own mind works in delightfully mysterious ways. “Next week I'm going to have an MRI to find out whether or not I have claustrophobia,” he deadpanned on his 2007 album, “I Still Have a Pony.” Wright, who is the factory reset of deadpan, became an overnight sensation after debuting on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” in 1982 . More than 40 years later, he remains a comedy purist, recording just two albums and making a small handful of film and television appearances while building a reputation as a preeminent stand-up — the 15th-best of all time, to Rolling Stone . Now he has expanded his tiny empire to include his first , “Harold” — 241 pages rattling around inside the head of a semi-fictional schoolboy growing up in the 1960s. Wright began the book as a Twitter experiment all the way back in 2011, posting one line at a time. Get The Big To-Do Your guide to staying entertained, from live shows and outdoor fun to the newest in museums, movies, TV, books, dining, and more. Enter Email “I did a couple of sentences every day for like a week and a half,” he recalls, on the phone last week from his home northwest of Boston. “Then I didn't do it for two weeks. Then I put some other sentences on. Then I stopped it completely. “A year later, without any announcement, I put on like four more sentences.” The title character has, of course, a unique perspective on the world. There's a window inside his head through which various birds fly, all carrying the thoughts that occupy Harold's hyperactive mind. Teeth, he points out, are the only part of the human skeleton you can see while the person is still alive: “They're like a skeleton preview.” “I used Harold's head as a funnel,” Wright explains. “I poured in everything […]

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