Thursday, June 4, 2009

Dear Bob, We celebrated your life tonight...

as an artist, a dear friend, an old love, a magnificent teacher, a family member. Did you see us at Okay Mountain? We all expected to see your white pickup parked in the neighborhood, and all evening we spoke of how eerie it was that we all pictured you in the same spot in the yard in the same seat, with your long legs stretched out. Suze and I went together, fittingly, and brought a huge bottle of your beloved Bulleit bourbon with us for everyone to toast you, with a tag I made for its neck that read, "For Bob, with love, from Hard Women." Your students from all the way back to the 80's (including Suze and me!) were there. Did you hear the stories we shared, and how I told the crowd how it was you who named us Hard Women in the first place, and how you never missed a single show? (Suze had said earlier, "Maybe we should have shared more men?" And I said, "No." You were enough, separated, even, as you were by fifteen or so years in our romantic histories. But that is a funny shared experience between best friends! We'll always have YOU in common. And she told me about how she left a wedding to go have hot sex with you, while the bride, Malka, went next door and visited your beloved friend, Steve Jones.)

And did you see that Suze and I embraced your beloved Peggy, and she clung to us all evening, sometimes with the three of us putting our heads together? We took care of her for you this evening, Bob. She loves you so much, and it was so wonderful to know that you died at the height of a great love. I am so genuinely happy for the two of you, and so sad for Peggy that she must find a way to live on without you.

Your exhibition was beautiful, and even more so because it was works you gave each of us, not work for sale. Everyone shared their stories of how you gave them the works, and there was a tack-up wall of the drawings you'd always made for each crop of your grad students. You were so generous to us!

And I finally met your sister. She said to Suze and me, "You knew him better than I did." She said, "Now I understand why he didn't want to come to our house for the holidays. He had all of you, and was part of this artistic community." Bob, she finally gets it. She sees what you meant to us, that you weren't some kind of crazy recluse. She finally gets it, by hearing our stories and seeing the crowd there to celebrate your life as an artist. Yours was the biggest opening of the year!

There are so many people who will miss you here. We toasted the sky and talked to you -- could you hear us? Go in peace now, my old, gentle, mad sweetheart. Peggy is afraid you'll hover near her and she wants you to be released and find peace. Please hear her heart and do as she needs you to do now. We will take care of her, and her children are clinging close to her.

I regret I didn't have the opportunity to look into your watery blue eyes one more time and see your crooked grin. I regret what I didn't get the chance to say to you, so I'll say it now: Bob, thank you. Thank you for our brief time together, thank you for your art, and thank you for teaching me everything I know about artistic discipline. You were a great artist, a great teacher and a pure, perfect soul. You are loved, and you are missed. At every party we will miss you most of all because we know you would have loved to be with us; and you will be. Linda Montano sends her love, and as I told her just now on the phone, please go back to sleep now, and sweet dreams, my tall boy, my Ichabod.

Sending you my love tonight,

And now David Carradine is dead!

This is eerie! Because David Carradine was the movie star doppelganger of my dead former sweetheart! If I had to cast Bob's life, Carradine always seemed to be the perfect choice to play him!

We have no idea how profoundly connected we are to our movie stars. They act out our issues for us. They are our surrogates. This is so strange, that Carradine had no reason to exist now, without Bob.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

But obviously life is still worth living with a child and

...daughter-in-law like these two!

And Freak Show A-Go-Go was incredible -- like a queer Cirque de Soleil! And Jimmie's father and wife finally managed to make it to a show after, what? Seven years. I spoke with them for a minute and Jimmie's father made me very happy by saying Hard Women's artistic legacy obviously continues in our child. I was rocking the old Hard Women three foot long pony-tail, Madonna-inspired ringmaster outfit, leopard spats and high-heeled tennis shoes, so I was glad if he was only going to run into me once every six years I was rocking an outrageous look. And he did behave very nicely. I am so glad he was finally able to see exactly what it is his child does as an artist. And I was so proud of all KnT and Jimmie and Cindy had done to pull off this marvelous show.

A dear, old friend of mine has died.

He was also once my love for a few fleeting months five years ago. I am so sad. He was a sweet, gentle, crazy soul, and one of the best and most productive artists I've ever known. He taught me so much about artistic discipline, just as he taught generations of students at school about what it meant to be an artist. I hadn't spent any time with him since October, but I know he had a wonderful girlfriend of a few months with whom he was very happy. It appears he had a peaceful passing in the night. So many more drawings he would have made, so much more fun he would have had.

He will be much missed by so many, including me. Rest in peace, Bob. I will remember you fondly.

I have been constantly surrounded by death since December. When will it let up?

I finished the first final draft of the book and put it out to those who had agreed to be first readers. Now I wait. I would have been high on finishing, but my sadness over Bob's passing has damped down my mood about the book. No one has time to read right now, it seems, so I must be patient. But I stayed on the schedule I established months ago, so I am proud of myself for that.