Just before I heard you died
just a moment before
I heard you’d gone
I’d been holding this
worn copy of Beowulf
and I’d laughed because
how you loved Beowulf
and I didn’t?

how you could
sit with a person
sit next to a person
and make them feel
so smart
and so significant?

how you had such darkness
and such light
and one did not diminish the other?

And did you know that your presence
was so tangible
I think,
because you had so much
mind and heart
that your body could not contain it. But–

how you made me laugh
and made me think
and taught me
and pushed me
and Middle Earth days
and sonnets we spoke
and the professor we loved?

the girl who struggled
in class and you–
no one knew it–
but you–
you got her through it,
didn’t you?

how we–
my husband and I–
we danced to your music and
your soul was on your sleeve
and in the song?

but this is where I had to stop
because the thing is

it’s too hard
right now

to believe

that you

are gone.

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The Puzzle

In a cabin on a creek
alone which is so
unfamiliar and

as strange as the sound of rain on the roof
in this drought.
Even the sound of thunder
and not just the teasing of the air with electric shivers
we’ve known as of late
but real thunder so loud you remember that poem and the line
what the thunder said
as you stand in the doorway watching water drip from pine trees.

But earlier,
before the rain fell,
when the air was still
and thick with promise
you found the dusty puzzle box
and the soft tussling sound you heard
as you lifted it
brought your father’s face before you.

Or not his face so much but him,
and the way he tapped the
bright, snug cardboard pieces
when he found the one,
that one piece that fit just so
right there
and made a bit more sense
of the farm scene
or the seascape,
or the raccoon faces peeping at you between fall leaves.

And the way you felt when you
were permitted to sit there
right next to him
working with him
to find that one piece
you know the one
the one that’s shaped like this
“Like this right here,” and we would
bend our heads together to find that one piece.
That one piece that would solve the puzzle.

But the puzzle is always too
big. It is too
intricate; and
you are certain some of the pieces
are missing.

The thunder stops and the rain, too.
But you stay inside because

you like to pretend

that the water still pours down on you and
the drought is over and

your father sits next to you

with his clean-shaven cheeks.


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Yes. All Women.


photo credit: Vase Petrovski

Yesterday I was at Fruitvale BART, as I often am, riding down the escalator in the midst of the evening commute. It was really crowded, and I was over to the right of the narrow stairway, since I wasn’t in a hurry. (Typically people rushing to make a train or bus or get to work on time move at a faster pace and stay to the left.) The crowd started shifting around to make way for a group coming quickly down the left side. From behind I felt someone pressing against me so I tried to lean forward, but it was so crowded I couldn’t move much. In that second or two that I was somewhat trapped, the man behind me leaned into me, grabbed my ass with his whole hand and squeezed it, digging his fingers into my flesh; he laughed in my left ear, his breath and spit hitting my neck. He stepped to the left and hurried down the steps before I could even recover or respond and I watched him scurry off laughing and smiling back at me. A smallish black man in his 30s, in a baseball cap. When my own feet finally touched the unmoving floor I felt unsteady, as if I might fall over, or collapse in some humiliating way.

It’s not the first time something similar to this has happened to me and I’m sure most women would say the same. I think now that I am older I become even more enraged when something like this occurs. Maybe because I am coming at it from a place of more understanding about how women are valued, or more accurately: the twisted ways in which women are valued and devalued at the same time.

Women are shooting shit into their asses and their lips, slicing open their breasts to shove packets of crap into them, and paying lots of money to have their skin scraped, pulled, or otherwise manipulated. Our value seems to be found in the level of desirability we can achieve—at least the level and shape that the media touts before all of us as desirable—and women are doing terrible things to their bodies in their desperation.

When we walk down the street our bodies are vulnerable to leering and comments and even aggressive and unwanted groping. In that recent moment on the escalator I felt inexplicably and maddeningly embarrassed, as if I had done something shameful, and that infuriates me; I am still angry at not only the grinning man in the baseball cap, but at myself for my vulnerability, and my inability to stop or prevent this—my failure to retaliate or protect or punish.

It’s time to evolve. Time to raise our daughters to believe that their bodies are their own and not created for the pleasure of men’s eyes or hands or fantasies. Time to raise our sons to value women as more than flesh designed to gratify them. And—perhaps most difficult of all—time to look at ourselves and our own behaviors to determine how much a part of the problem we are. In countless subtle and powerful ways we tell ourselves and those around us what we think of women. Our words, actions, behaviors, and expectations scream out our true thoughts, and often they do damage that does not undo itself for generations, if ever.

One afternoon I sat at a sidewalk café in San Francisco with my son, Nate, and a young woman wearing a short skirt walked by. Nate and I witnessed a whole lineup of men either outwardly leering or trying to sneak looks without being detected. Nate turned to me and told me about something he’d read that was sticking in his mind.

“Say you’re a young girl,” he said, “and you’re out to lunch with your dad, and you’re telling him something about school, or your sports team, or whatever. You’re telling your dad, but the thing is, while you’re telling him his eyes are following a woman who just walked by. You know what that says to the young girl?” my son asked me. “It says: ‘your dreams and accomplishments aren’t as important as this woman’s ass.’ Now she’s probably going to spend more time in her life improving her ass than herself as a person, because she’s figured out that’s what matters to the most important man in her life.”

Ogling a woman passing by is a small and subtle thing, I suppose. But the message it sends is powerful and pervasive. And what of a son in that situation? Pretend the girl’s brother is at the table. What is he learning from his primary male role model? That the accomplishments, dreams, words, thoughts, ideas of a woman are not as important as her ass (I’m using “ass” to stand in for body, breasts, legs—whatever is being leered at). Insert ‘wife’ or ‘girlfriend’ into this story, and think about how that might affect the ability to feel appreciated, understood, equal, desirable.


Now that we have diminished women to body parts and flesh existing for men to enjoy, it seems some of those men feel perfectly entitled to grab and stare and otherwise use our bodies to get them off in some way—with or without our consent. #YesAllWomen is a movement that seeks to expose the treatment that all women endure. On the daily, tweets pop up in my feed with women relating stories like my escalator one; most of them are worse. I like that the emphasis is on all women, as I’m hoping and imagining that this helps dispel the idea that this sort of thing only happens to certain women who dress a certain way. Have I mentioned that I am 58 years old, and at the time this happened was wearing a t-shirt (with a high collar—not a V neck), jeans, and red chucks. Not exactly the attire of a woman who is trying to attract unwanted (or any kind of) male attention. Yes. All women. Even your daughter, your sister, wife, friend. Your mother.

I started to apologize, just now, for this rant, and to thank you for sticking with it. But then I thought better of it. I don’t apologize for this rant. I apologize to my daughters, my son, and my grandson, for the ways in which the world will (and has) hurt them, and for the ways I have hurt them in my own ignorance. For that time I didn’t say anything to the man who was so familiar with me in the grocery store that it made my six year old son feel angry and protective. For the times I valued my daughters’ beauty too much, or failed to teach them how to function in the world as a pretty girl and still know who you really are—I couldn’t do it for them; I couldn’t do it for myself.

To the man on the escalator, and to all of you with your leering eyes, your shouts and whispers, your laughter in our ears, and your spit on our necks: I think you are losing more than you are gaining. You are losing your ability to see women as they are: complex and brilliant, capable of deep love and intellect that goes beyond the bounce of our breasts or the meat on our thighs. You are pushing us away with your meager understanding, and with your foolish lack of control in the presence of our flesh. You are more than all of this, and so are we.

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Brackish Water

This is a hard and exhilarating season. I am in between one life and another—not really, of course—not in the Samsara sense, or in the “I see a tunnel, and a bright light” sort of way. But I am nonetheless perched between my former life and my new one, at the age of 57, and I’m feeling a little like I’ve jumped into a river that is about to meet up with the enchanted sea but I’ve got to get out of the whirlpool I am in first. Let me explain.

I am only living in two geographic locations: Fresno and the bay area, but in the past week I have slept in five different beds, and I’ve been engaging in this sort of gypsy behavior for the past two months. I’ve started a new job in San Francisco, doing something I have never done before—teaching English courses to middle and high school Chinese-American students in a private learning institution. I am still trying to be proficient at using the bus, BART, and Muni to get me around, which has resulted in a couple of “Oh crap I’m on the wrong train” sort of moments, which aren’t terrible but at the end of a long work /travel day when it’s time to eat/pee/chill/sleep (none of which I can do on the BART—though some people do) it makes me feel stupid, and a little pathetic, sitting there with my suitcase at my feet and my smart phone in my hand; it makes me miss my husband, who I don’t see nearly enough these days. It makes me miss my dog.

I think I’m very tired.

One of the first things I learned from my beloved/irritating writing professor—who shall remain nameless but who, I will say, has an affinity for Melville and an aversion to the word “issues,” because, he claims, it’s a weak euphemism for what it really means, which is big fucking problems—is that writing is not therapy. Or, at least it’s not supposed to be a therapeutic endeavor. Is that what he was saying? I’m not really sure, even after hearing him say it repeatedly over a span of years. Because it never made sense to me. Like math, I couldn’t make his philosophy fit into my brain.

But out of respect for my mentor, and courtesy for my reader, if I still have one, I’ll keep the analysis and self-examination to a minimum.

IMG_7684A couple of weeks ago I was hooded for a master’s degree in creative writing out of Fresno State’s MFA program. I had amazing and inspiring professors and creative, hilarious, talented fellow students; I hope and pray to stay connected with this wonderfully strange family of people I have grown to love.

I walked away from a volunteer job that I loved, and it still hurts to think about it. The inmates I met, and soon adored, who were in my writing group at Fresno County jail, greet me in my dreams almost nightly; they want to know why I left without saying goodbye. In real life, they know why, because I told them repeatedly months in advance that I would be leaving, that I was graduating, getting a job in the city, and that I had a grandson coming. But still. In my dreams they look at me without trust.

I am still trying to do my job at Dakota House, where I have been the founding director for fifteen years. I am doing a bad job, though. I’m too scattered. And I miss the kids so much sometimes it makes me want to drop everything and run back to that little neighborhood, just in time for prayer and announcement time, where I can wrestle and snuggle and hang out with kids I love and with whom I can entirely be myself.

And then there is my grandson Mason. Nobody prepared me for this sort of love. Oh yes, they all said things like “It’s wonderful. You get to play with them and then send them home to their parents. It’s great!” This sort of sentiment doesn’t even touch the feelings I have for my grandson. He is only 2 ½ months old, and I am completely smittenphoto, out-of-my-head in love, and would basically climb any obstacle, put up with any inconvenience, and sacrifice nearly anything just to stare into his face and watch him drool and blow spit bubbles. It’s ridiculous. But seriously, can you blame me? I mean, look at that face. And he already has a personality that outweighs him by twice his size, which is not surprising in the least if you know his parents.

Wikipedia defines brackish water as “water that has more salinity than fresh water, but not as much as seawater” and states, rather obviously in my opinion, that “it may result from mixing of seawater with fresh water.” I’ve always liked this idea: the coming together of two different things to make something new, something that contains elements of both, but is neither. It is brackish.

My life in this season still has elements of the life I have been living for years now: our big old house that I love, with its crumbling walls and lush garden and bright kitchen; my noble and neurotic weenie dog, Hector; my Dakota House family; my extended family; my four amazing kids; and of course my husband, Brad—they all have my heart and my love and that has not changed.

But so much has. I am no longer a student. Wait. What? Yes. I am no longer a student. I had to say it twice to make it go in. I’ve been a student for so long—literally been in and out of college since 1990, and that doesn’t even count the early half-hearted, mostly social and debauched semesters in the 70’s and 80’s when I racked up some units at Fresno City College and C.O.S. in Visalia. I don’t remember what it’s like to not be learning, doing homework, complaining about doing homework, and commiserating with other students who are complaining about doing homework. I can’t recall what it’s like to read whatever I want, without taking notes or wondering how I could work this in to my next paper. I can’t remember what it’s like to NOT have an assignment hanging over my head. I have vague recollections, and I am starting to feel it now, but I think I don’t trust the feeling yet and haven’t given it permission to settle in just yet. I’m not even sure I like it.

More things that are different: I don’t sleep in the same bed as my husband every night anymore. I live out of a suitcase most of the time. I don’t get to have my dog with me. I rarely have time to cook and eat my own food. Half the time I don’t know where my stuff is. I don’t get to see my DH kids enough. Ever. But these are just the bad things.

I get to see my kids who live in the bay more. I actually spend several nights a month staying at their place(s). I get to see the amazing adults they have become; I get to enjoy them and hang out with them in their world. I have a new son, the father of Mason, who I coincidentally have loved for many years (I’ve even, in former years, been accused of making him my favorite DH kid–a preposterous notion, of course).

Sf cable carI get to breathe fresh salt air all the time now, which always has and still does feel like a gift, a precious, lovely, moist, not-valley-air gift. I regularly move through and stay in a beautiful city, taking in sights, and encounters, and discoveries that often astound, delight and intrigue me. I am not bored. I am learning new things all the time—I am teaching so I am learning along with my students. I have exposure to a new (to me) culture and am learning about it through kids that are funny, smart, curious, angry, happy, bold, shy, serious, and silly—just like all kids everywhere.

And there’s my grandson. The boy with the moon and star on his head, the boy who holds my heart in his chubby little hand, the boy who makes all the world right when I look into his eyes.

Hopefully, someday Brad and I will have our own place in the bay, and things will be easier; I will have more time with my husband, and a place for our grandson to come play, and I won’t be traveling back and forth so much; I’ll feel (and look) less like a tired and disheveled gypsy.

But this brackish season has its beauty. It’s not my old life, but it’s not my new one either. It’s something in between: a time to figure out some things about myself, my family, and my priorities. A time to discover what is out there besides everything I already know and live. A time to make good decisions while still recovering from the bad ones. A time to make bad choices and really figure out, for sure, that they are bad. A time for our family to grow and morph into what it will be in the years to come.

Wikipedia also says this: “Certain human activities can produce brackish water.” I’ll have to agree with that. It’s taken a lot of activity to get me where I am, some of it good and admirable, some of it not so good and admirable, but all of it mine, and all of it very human.

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Soggy in the Emerald City

I’ve been in Seattle since Saturday morning. It’s Tuesday morning, and it is miraculously not raining. For the first time since I’ve been here. seattle blu sky Here is proof. That’s blue sky you see just over the light rail streaking by. I am beside myself.

Yes, I am from California, where lately we beg the heavens to let water fall, where we do rain dances, and shake our fists at the cloudless sky and curse. Where it is currently 78 degrees. In February. I’m happy when it rains in my hometown. But this.

A friend of mine lives here and while trying to make some dinner plans he sent me this message:

“Let me plan on picking you up at [my hotel] so you don’t have to walk in the rain. You Californians sometimes freak out when it rains too much.”

I wanted to send him a reply message that said “WTF? I’m not made of sugar, you know.” But I didn’t. Because he is right. I have been freaking out a little. I have three pairs of soaking wet shoes in my hotel room right this minute, and one of them I bought at a City Target after walking all day in the soggy streets, my trusty pair of TOMS having given up trying to be shoes in this watery onslaught.

Last night I walked over to the Century Ballroom, where a free screening of RuPaul’s Drag Race was hosted by Ben DeLaCreme, seen here looking quite lovely. I had fantasies of mingling with fabulous drag queens, sipping wine and nibbling cheese with all sorts of folks I rarely come into contact with. I’ve been to a drag club twice, both the same one–LIPS, in Greenwich Village. I took bendelacremetwo of my daughters there on trips to NYC to celebrate their high school graduation,and both times it was a wonderful night of fun and laughter and amazing entertainment.

But it was not to be for me here in the Emerald City (FYI: STILL no idea why they call it that, but it sounds so great, right? ) The line at the Century Ballroom was so long–it snaked up three flights of stairs and around several bends. The people waiting in line looked disappointingly normal, too. Very few wigs. Hardly any sequins. Most everyone looked pretty much like me. In fact, I was more dressed up than most, thinking I couldn’t show up to a drag show wearing my Fresno State sweats and a baseball cap, though I could have, because most everyone there was dressed as dull and drab as the gray Seattle sky. After waiting for a half hour or so, we were told that they had crammed as many people into the ballroom as they possibly could. The rest of us didn’t stand a chance.

I did meet several nice very nice people while waiting in line. I was invited to go to The Wild Rose–a bar down the street–by a nice young man and his compportandia dudeanions. but I declined. He was so friendly, and so earnest in trying to get me to see the beauty of his city (he looked a lot like that guy on Portlandia), but my colleagues (I like calling my peeps that) from my MFA program will be here soon, and we will be doing plenty of drinking in bars; I decided to save up my energy and cash and head back to my hotel. Before I left, the young man told me that when the sun does come out, it’s glorious. “We really appreciate it,” he told me. I likened it to Tolkien’s theory (nerd that I am) of eucatastrophe, where you must endure the suffering before you can enjoy those “piercing glimpses of joy.” The young man, nerd that he is, loved my comparison, and wrote the word on his arm so he would remember it.

I goru pault a glimpse inside the ballroom, but the doorway was so crowded I couldn’t see much. In all it was a bit disappointing.

I made the walk back to my hotel through the rain. Have I mentioned that the GPS on my phone doesn’t work for crap here? All the clouds, I suppose. So I do a lot of walking in circles and staring at my phone, occasionally shaking it; that does nothing yet I can’t seem to stop myself. But last night I didn’t even need my GPS. I’ve begun to figure out the streets here, and besides, it was early, and I had nothing to do. (Having nothing to do is such a foreign feeling  for me; I find it exhilarating and terrifying.) I strolled through the wet and shiny city, breathing in the moist air, and enjoying the luxury of solitude in a city where I know almost no one.

seattle at nightBack at my hotel I changed into those comfy sweats and headed down to the lobby–the only place you get free internet in my hotel. I snuggled into one of the couches, ordered a glass of wine, and watched the final episode of House of Cards on my laptop, the letdown of which was similar to missing out on RuPaul.

But today the sun is out. Tomorrow my peeps begin arriving. I’ve got four more days here. Seattle, show me the green.

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Homeless in the Emerald City

One of the first things I am noticing about Seattle, besides how cool the light rail is, and how the sidewalks are super wet but not slippery, and how confusing the crosswalks are, and how many hipsters are here, is the number of street people—homeless or otherwise—I am seeing. This seems an unlikely place for folks who sleep in doorways to settle; it’s 44 degrees right now, and that’s the high for today. Besides which, it’s raining. And sometimes, Seattle looks like this:

snowy seattle
(Twitter user ‏@DaveGuss/Downtown Seattle/Feb. 9, 2014)

This is my first visit to the Emerald City (that’s what the pilot on Alaska Air called it, but I don’t know why–it’s more gray than green, honestly, at least so far); I’m here for the AWP (Association of Writers and Writing Programs) conference, an annual event that brings writers from all over the place into one giant–as one of my DH kids called it–nerd convention.

Yesterday I found a nice, warm little deli that sells goat cheese and olives, and where I could get a slice of cheese pizza and a glass of wine for under $10. I sat at the counter, looking out to the wet and crowded intersection just near Pike’s Public Market. On this rainy Saturday I found the market a bit crowded and steamy for me, though it was worth the shuffle with the crowd just to smell the flowers and frying fish and hot apple cider. The woman sitting one stool away from me was reading the newspaper. She looked up at me and smiled, and we began an easy conversation about the poetry slam she almost attended the night before, but didn’t, and how she writes a lot of poetry. When I told her I was here for a writing conference she asked if she could scoot over to the stool next to me, and our conversation continued over the best cheese pizza I have ever eaten.

Her name is Francis Emily Waldow, but everyone calls her Emily, after her grSeattle nativeandmother, who was a member of the Cowichan tribe of Vancouver Island. Emily is half Cowichan, and half Italian, which gave us even more to talk about, since I am also half Italian, and I could swear she looks an awful lot like my aunts Toscana and Yolanda.

“I think it’s the Italian part of me that kept me from being a full-blown alcoholic,” she told me.

Emily has lived in Seattle all of her life. She was homeless for over a year, living on the street, before she got to the top of the waiting list for a low-income residence called Plymouth Housing–she has lived in the building we could see from our window for ten years now. She told me she has two hot plates and a cat.

“I can use the oven downstairs, if I need to,” she said. “The other day I made a cake for my friend–he’s a heroin addict and a schizophrenic, and I worry about him sometimes. I wanted to do something nice for him. So I made this cake, and I put it on the windowsill to cool. My cat jumped right on top of it, so I had to cut out the middle part and make it a donut cake,” she smiled at me.

Emily describes Seattle as a very “homeless-friendly” city. She told me that people “find niches” to sleep.

“One of my friends is sleeping in the back of a laundromat right now–some little room they let him use. But the city helps out a lot, too. We have Urban Rest Stops where you can get a shower. And when the weather’s really bad, they open up city hall. And of course there’s all the shelters.”

The Urban Rest Stops–where you can wash your clothes, take a shower or a load off–look pretty amazing, and I counted over 20 shelters in Seattle.

I live in Fresno, California. A search for homeless shelters in my town turned up a list of six, two of which I know do not take walk-ins.

“The police look out for us, too,” Emily told me. “If they find homeless people on the street, they call non-emergency and detox comes and takes them in, where they get taken care of.”

I asked Emily what she likes most about living in Seattle.

“It’s the people,” she said. “A lot of natives, like me, and just this feeling like we all belong together. You shoulda seen it when the Seahawks won. Whole streets were blocked off. People hugging and yelling and laughing–all the open containers but no fighting. Just a lot of celebrating together.”

Emily is passionate about her city, and about poetry. She recited quite a few pieces of her own poems to me, from memory. She gave me permission to share one. You can read it below; I have the signed copy in my journal.

Emily Waldow, if you are reading this, thank you for sharing your heart and your city with me. Come to the bookfair on Saturday. Mingle with some other poets, browse the books, and breathe it all in.

And You Thought  by Francis Emily Waldow.

When I start to think,

I rake in the ink.

My feet never leave the ground.

I move without making a sound.

And now, my thoughts are your thoughts.

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Philip Seymour Hoffman, Intimacy, and Legitimate Love

Yesterday morning, my friend Mel–who is living in Croatia–told me Philip Seymour Hoffman is dead. It was the first thing she said, once both of our Skype screens were up and I could see her face, pale as the moon, and her enormous blue eyes.

“What? Wait. What did you say?” I thought, or perhaps hoped, I had heard her wrong.

“Oh no,” she curled her brown hair behind her ear. “I, think–I think it’s true.”

When a celebrity–or otherwise famous person–dies, a strange phenomenon occurs: millions of people who never ever met a person experience a legitimate sense of mourning for that person. We feel it, in a very real way. Which is a sort of strange phenomenon.

When Richard Harris died, my husband heard about it before I did, and casually mentioned it while eating his Panda Express on a lunchtime phone call. I was so angry with him for, I don’t know, three hours, I suppose, for just blurting it out like that, with no warning. Richard Harris, who was none other than King Arthur in Camelot (a wonderfully surreal and cheesking  arthury 60’s rendition with Vanessa Redgrave as Guinevere and the Italian actor Franco Nero as Lancelot), the white guy turned Indian in A Man Called Horse, the rugged survivor in Man in the Wilderness, and in later years, Dumbledore and Marcus Aurelius and the pathetic yet endearing Frank in Wrestling Ernest Hemmingway. I can almost hear myself saying “I love Richard Harris,” and know that I meant it when I said it. But isn’t that a strange thing for me to say? That I love a person I have never met? I get it, as an English speaker I am in the habit of using the “love” word liberally, using it to describe my feelings regarding my daughter or my husband, but also my fondness for banana ice cream. But still. It’s a crazy thing we do.

Today as I am going through my day, studying and having conversations and building a fire and folding laundry and petting my dog, that sad little bruise I felt on my heart, the one for Philip Seymour Hoffman, occasionally feels tender again.

I’m not solely hurting because, as Dana Stevens said in Slate, “He could do anything, and he was just getting started,” though that is certainly part of it. And it isn’t solely because he was young, and he has a wife and three kids. There’s something else, and I’m trying to get a hold of that something else in my brain, to find a way to understand and describe the feeling of loss when an actor is taken from us. What is it about Philip Seymour Hoffman, or Richard Harris, or Heath Ledger that causes us to feel personal loss when they are gone?

Maybe it’s similar to that thing in pornography, where ( typically) the posing woman is looking straight into the camera, giving the viewer the feeling she is looking at him (her)? So because I have watched PSH become Capote before my eyes, get bludgeoned by Matt Damon in The Talented Mr. Ripley, and get blindingly high on gasoline in Love Liza I feel a certain closeness to him? He has, perhaps, been vulnerable in front of me (and millions of others, but still) and this evokes a certain feeling of intimacy. For some reason it appears to mean I can legitimately say, “I love Philip Seymour Hoffman.”

Maybe we need a new label for celebrity love, for that false intimacy we feel. I’ll admit I can’t think of an appropriate phrase. I’ll also admit I spent a fair amount of time yesterday pulling up pictures and interviews and film clips of PSH. I think It was a bit of a private memorial service I performed–a day of observance for this gifted man who chose to leave us.

In our Skype conversation, my friend Mel and I spent the first few minutes lamenting his death together. From here to Croatia, on our little screens, we shared some moments of sorrow for a man neither of us have met before we plunged into the detritus of our own lives. And perhaps that’s part of the debt we owe to Philip Seymour Hoffman–in his films, he took us away from our own lives before he took his own. And for that, I suppose I do love him.


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