Monday, October 16, 2006

life, and death.

it is cold in new york these days and the leaves are falling.
there is no heat and no electricity in my apartment right now, so i sleep coffined in layers of clothes and comforters.

i had a dream two nights ago. it was very reminiscent of a dream i had when i was fourteen.
i remember both vividly.
in them, a tall, dark-haired man holds a gun to my throat, shoots, and kills me without the slightest shade of remorse or question of his actions.

everything bleeds like a water-colored image as my eyes go dark.

i'm writing a story right now.
i'm not sure what it's called yet.
it started with the title, the passage, because it was about both the literal and metaphorical passage of a girl who is forced to confront her painful relationship with her father, and with God, while on the road to her mother's funeral.
it's a story i started some months ago but stepped away from, as i like to do with all my stories, to gain some distance and perspective. i have many such half developed stories but, for whatever the reason, i chose to return to this one last week.

this past saturday, i went to see the opening night of a one man show that one of my former acting teachers wrote and starred in. he was not one of my primary teachers and i did not know him well at school, so though the play was an autobiographical account of his life, i did not know what to expect. what i got was a stripped down, honest, and heartfelt account of a father who embodied both the best and worst of life, told by a son from a funeral podium.

this morning, i got an email from a particularly dramatic, entertaining friend of mine.
alexis- what's you're number? i need to talk to you. RIGHT NOW.
LOL! it's xxx-x, i wrote back, but then realized that this was probably not her attempt to entertain me. i hadn't heard from her in months.
i erased LOL, wrote my number, and within seconds the phone rang.

"alexis, this is katie. linda died this morning."

my reaction was one that occurs when two realities meet- one of intellect and the other of emotion. i knew linda would die. at some point.
her daughter, one of my best childhood friends- who i smoked my first cigarette with and whose couch i got my first kiss on- told me so one drunken night in the east village. terminal cancer. no one was supposed to know.

"i'm going to go back for the funeral. it's going to be this weekend."

by the time i heard this, my intellect had been overwhelmed by my emotions. sitting at my desk at eleven in the morning with producer after producer wandering by, i cried. i cried for linda- but in some way i knew that at least she was no longer in pain. the pain of loss, however, would be left for her daughter, my friend, mary. i sobbed for her.

death is a part of life, i know that, but it always seems unjust when it occurs- especially when it occurs prematurely. many of you out there know linda, and know how deeply she will be missed; there was only one contessa. and many of you know the remarkable woman she left behind in the form of a daughter. i hope we will all be there to support mary in any way we can.

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“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.” -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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