Just got back from the Java Hut -- Good feature from Christa Bell
to a fairly low-energy room. Still, she made it work -- up to and including dragging one of the kids in the audience to beat box behind one of her poems (a rocking little piece about women and hip-hop. Lots of power and rage. Good stuff.)
It was nice to hear more from her than what I'd heard at iWPS -- seriously enjoyed her set.
Very little progress on the manuscript today -- not really been up to focusing
, although I got some cleaning done, so it wasn't a complete
Thoughts are starting to coalesce about Paul being dead. It's a hard thought to come to grips with, the loss of someone you'd lost contact with. Except I didn't
lose contact with him, evidently. We'd been back in contact up to what had to have been mere weeks or months before he died. We'd even talked on the phone. I'd wondered why I hadn't heard from him when I dropped him an e-mail to tell him I was going to be in Los Angeles, but he bopped around a lot, changed e-mails a couple times. I figured he'd bop around eventually. Like I'd said earlier, we'd been here before. It didn't particularly bother me.
Paul and I met at Arundel in 1991. He was one of those people that was born to be on student council -- was student body president almost the day he stepped onto the campus. He was also stage manager for a couple of the plays I produced. He's the guy in the story I tell too often that gave me my first cigarette (actually second, I'd tried a few drags once before) when a scene for the play I was directing -- "God's Favorite," by Neil Simon -- was falling to pieces. He was smoking, the people on the sidelines were smoking. I didn't smoke.
"Paul," I said, "Give me a cigarette."
"You don't smoke, Victor"
"Paul, give me a cigarette."
He gave me a cigarette.
"Paul. Give me a light."
"Are you sure..."
I lit the cigarette and inhaled on the first try. Everyone stopped.
And they nailed the scene.
Stupid little memory, and yet, it was one of those moments that crystallized my persona, particularly as an artist -- a strange little moment that shaped how I present myself to the world. Odd, how the small things add up to define us. Seems so long ago that I almost think it happened to someone else.
Paul's gone now. He was a good guy, and I'm sure he's in a better place.
It all sounds kind of empty when you put it like that.