One of the most enigmatic artists to have ever lived now has a new documentary streaming on Netflix, curiously titled Hieronymus Bosch: Touched By The Devil (2015). But as this viewer noted from watching it last night, only about half of that title is accurate.
Produced, written, and directed by Pieter van Huystee, the film follows a group of art historians and art conservators across several different museums around the world as they cut through bureaucratic red tape to x-ray, scan, photograph, and examine the intention of the artist and perhaps in the process, gain a deeper insight into the inner life of this figure.
Essentially two unfolding plots -- one, a story about discovering the real Bosch through meticulous analysis of the artist's hand; the other, a much less interesting story about a group of prim & proper gents fussing over details of an exhibition and where to host it. The latter was a bit of a missed opportunity, especially considering the amount of effort it must have taken to request access.
About 37 mins in, a group of art historians launch into a (heated?) 10 minute-long conversation about wall plaques. And if you've worked in a museum like me, you know this is a hotly contested item among academics. A sample of the transcript:
- Will there be a sign underneath saying Hieronymus Bosch? Or from the studio of Hieronymus Bosch?
- In some cases the sign will say Hieronymus Bosch. In other cases it will say Studio of Hieronymus Bosch.
- Or the Artist and His Assistants. It will often be a combination.
- I think we will also have to explain the concept of Hieronymus Bosch. Hieronymus Bosch as a signature, as a brand name, as a group of paintings. We will also have to find a place for Bruges. I don't like the idea of branding it as from his studio or in the style of Bosch. That goes against the whole idea of the studio.
- The piece from Philadelphia presents exactly the same problem. The fact that you don't like the idea is not really relevant. The visitors will ask for it. You have to say something. You can’t hide behind…
- But the clarity we want to provide points the other way, Hieronymus Bosch. The concept of Hieronymus Bosch must be broad enough to include all of this.
- But for the visitors, it isn’t acceptable to take a painting where you can say this looks like a Bosch, but isn’t one and to identify it as a real Hieronymus Bosch. Whether you want to or not, you must provide the visitor with some certainty.
- We’ll really have to discuss this further.
And further they did. So much so that I had trouble staying awake.
However, the film was exceptional in parts. I think it was especially strong during the segments when the narration focused back on the artist -- exquisite details of Bosch's vignettes, x-rays of his underdrawings where he changed his mind, the sometimes very unsettling images of torture and pain, and the intentional ambiguities he left throughout. In Christ Carrying The Cross (currently at Palacio Real in Madrid), the figure leading Christ to crucifixion is painted with a gaze directed at the viewer, making us complicit in the his death, with the moon of Islam deliberately embroidered on his shoulder. In another polyptych painting, Visions of the Hereafter (currently at Gallerie dell'Accademia in Venice), Bosch's fourth panel suggests a powerful longing for salvation after a life in hell. Fire is a recurring theme, which the art historians attributed to a fire in 1463 in his home town of Den Bosch in Amsterdam. It made an impression to the 13 year-old artist. In his most famous work, The Garden of Earthly Delight (at Museo Nacional Del Prado in Madrid), his firescapes dominates the upper right panel for hell -- the smoky rays of light cutting through darkness, demons in the shadow calling to the dead, gargoyles that have come alive to circle the buildings they once adorned.
These are all moments when the real Bosch surfaces -- an artist way ahead of his time, wildly innovative, deeply conflicted, and searching for redemption. His work marked a turning point between the Medieval art mode of replication to the Renaissance art of invention and imagination.
Yet, this crucial aspect of Bosch's humanity was at times hard to get across with the bland academics in charge of his show. But this is not to say they aren't experts. I have a great deal of respect for their work as Bosch Scholars, but as dramatic subject of a story, they leave little to be desired. Or perhaps the writing could have dug deeper, the way that an Bosch might have done with his figures.
Towards the end of the film, about 2/3 of the way through in an interview, historian Luuk Hoogstede (also the main character of the film) dropped his facade for just a brief moment and revealed that he was always interested in studying artists because they created things. "And what do I do?" he said, "I just read books and type on a keyboard."
If only the story opened with that.
I love football movies of all kinds (though I strongly dislike watching actual football games) -- The Blind Side, Little Giants, Remember The Titans, Jerry McGuire, Forest Gump. Bring on the sentimentality and the cliches because I love them all! But Rudy (1993) based on a true story starring Goonies alum Sean Astin, which I watched for the first time last night, is the current contender for #1.
10 minutes into this movie and I'm already crying. It has all the right ingredients for an American football film icon: an unlikely hero from a working class town with a heart of gold, a big seemingly unachievable goal for higher education, a constant chorus of you-can't-do-its, college branding, fall colors, and wide-angle shots of quiet misty mornings. It's got it all. Needless to say that I was an emotional mess by the end of it. Sean Astin was absolute perfection in his acting, along with Jon Favreau as the sidekick who never gives up and a young Vince Vaughn as an arrogant jock who Rudy ultimately inspires. I gave Rudy a 5-star review on Amazon streaming, tissues still in hand.
Out of 709 reviews, 85% were 5-stars, 8% 4-stars, 4% 3-stars, 1% 2-stars, and 2% 1-star. What cruel people would give this wonderful heartwarming film a 1- or 2-star review? What could they possibly hate about it?
Most of the negative reviews concerned technical challenges -- the DVD was broken, the streaming quality was bad, the sound was too low, and etc. One person complained that there was too much "potty mouth." Another expressed his dislike that the characters "took the Lord's name in vain." Someone else said Rudy was a "pathetic" character with an unhealthy obsession for Notre Dame, which 12 people found helpful on Amazon.
But one 2-star review in particular stood out:
Unremarkable. Trying to make a hero out of someone who was just dishonest. Read up on the guy and he actually was dishonest in business after college as well.
A quick Google search confirmed the bad news: in 2011, Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger along with a dozen associates were charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission for misleading investors. It was a "pump and dump" scheme for a sports drink company named "Rudy." It's tagline: "Dream Big! Never Quit!"
“Investors were lured into the scheme by Mr. Ruettiger's well-known, feel-good story but found themselves in a situation that did not have a happy ending,” said Scott W. Friestad, Associate Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. “The tall tales in this elaborate scheme included phony taste tests and other false information that was used to convince investors they were investing in something special.”
The New York Times wrote about the fraud, here. Forbes did too, here.
First Disney and now this. Is there nothing we can believe in anymore? It's hard to not get angry. Where's the responsibility of the filmmakers? The writers? The book publishers? The people peddling his brand? Who's fault is it? Rudy's fault? Big business'? Notre Dame's? Hollywood's? Evil corporations'? The finger pointing can go on and on.
And on and on it goes.
Such is the story of man's folly in The Garden of Eden. When God asked who took the fruit from the serpent, Adam pointed the finger to Eve, "She made me do it." And out they both go...condemned to suffering for all of eternity.
We have Adam and Eve to blame for this too. So at least there's that.
I have many questions and no answers. Instead, I'll leave you with a quote from Father Cavanaugh's character from Rudy, which I think encapsulates the ironies:
"Son, in 35 years of religious study, I have only come up with two hard incontrovertible facts: There is a God. And I'm not Him."
Call him old-fashioned or elitist or whatever other stodgy names, but Sir Roger Scruton makes a damn good case for the need to preserve beauty in this 2009 documentary film. You can watch it for free on Youtube.
While Postmodernism turned establishment art on its head (think of the Dadaists, the Surrealists, the Abstract Expressionists, the Brutalists, and onward), an unintended consequence of that movement has led us now to a slew of contemporary works of art and architecture stripped of beauty, which Scruton argues is a virtue we desperately need to defend.
Human beings need beauty to thrive, to have hope, to keep living....maybe, even to touch the divine. Think of the prehistoric painters in Lascaux for example who decorated their otherwise dark cave walls and ceilings with art. What was that about? Or the early Mesopotamian sculptures used for worship? Or the Ancient Egyptian works of Ra, the Sun God? Has there always been a connection of art with something deeper and higher? Scruton thinks so. And I do too.
Form follows function was once a noble cause, but take a walk through any modern high-rise cities and it's hard to tell one glass and steel structure from another. Or artists who create work only to shock the viewer, instead of helping to transcend and find greater truths? What happens to us when utility and commodity becomes the establishment? Do we even recognize beauty anymore? I believe this is something important for all of us to contemplate for ourselves.
A few nights ago I watched a 6-episode series on Netflix of Bill Moyer's 1988 interview with master mythology scholar Joseph Campbell. In their final conversation, the two talked about the circle as the most divine shape in nature, a kind of godly manifestation in aesthetic form (think of the mandala for example, or the halo, the sun, the moon, the planets, etc).
If the divine is circles, then are we humans squares? Who invented the square? How did it come about? What were its functions? Where would we be without it? And why is the word associated with boring fuddy-duddies? (a real search result, by the way, from my computer's thesaurus). Some contemplation and a little research later, I found myself with a copy of Italian artist/designer Bruno Munari's 1965 book, The Discovery Of The Square. Surprise surprise, it's shaped like a square!
A fascinating work of curiosity, Munari traces the use of this four-walled shape from paleo-Babylonian, to Ancient Rome, to Le Corbusier, to logarithmic spirals, to a simple game of chess. Did you know that "in ancient times, the square was believed to have magical properties including power to prevent plague, and it was common practice to wear a silver disk, with a square cut in it, on a necklace" (p 22).
From the opening essay:
"The square is as high and as wide as a man with his arms outstretched. In the most ancient writings, and in the rock inscriptions of early man, it signifies the idea of enclosure, of house, of settlement. Enigmatic in its simplicity, in the monotonous repetition of four equal sides and four equal angles, it creates a series of interesting figures: a whole group of harmonic rectangles, the golden section, and the logarithmic spiral, which also occurs in nature in the organic growth of plants and in parts of animals. With its structural possibilities, it has helped artists and architects of all epochs and styles by giving them a harmonic skeleton on which to build an artistic construction."
A fun and quick read for the aesthetically curious. So take a peruse! It's probably the squarest thing you can do this week.
Received an invitation to attend a royal banquet at Buckingham Palace? Uncertain of how to respond? Fret not, Debrett's guide on Etiquette & Modern Manners has you covered. Gone are the days when a book of etiquette is only deemed for the rich, the Royal, the business-oriented, or those planning a wedding. I think all of us could benefit from a little polish in our everyday behavior. A predecessor of and English counterpart to Emily Post, Debrett's has all one needs to know from addressing the Queen of England to approaching the delicate matter of breaking off an engagement. By the way, if you do meet the Queen, it's "Your Royal Highness" when addressing her directly and "Her Majesty" when addressing her in the company of others. Gentlemen, do bow your heads and ladies, a courtesy is required. And if you're beset by specific worries, there's always the Queen's Lady-in-Waiting to help with Q&As. Duh!
First published in 1769, Debrett's has so many wonderful sections with parts of it rather dated yet still applicable.
On asking your pesky neighbors who show up unexpectedly to leave your home: offer them something to drink when they enter your home, but do not be afraid to "allow the conversation to flag and not refill cups or glasses."
What to bring for your aging uncle who's staying at the hospital a while? Debrett's notes that "a small and robust pot plant is a good idea, but check with the florist that it will thrive in a hot hospital ward--a plant that drops its leaves or dies is not a tactful addition to a bedside."
Text too much? Chat too long? On the virtues of the telephone, "brevity and clarity are the two most essential qualities."
When going on a first date, did you know there is always a host and a guest? The host should arrive on time and the guest arrive only a little late. "There are two forms of invitation to a first date that are incorrect and unfair (although perfectly acceptable when people know each other better). It is wrong to ask if the other person is free at a specified time without giving further details about the evening. The girl might like the opportunity to say she will be busy on that particular day, if she chooses to accept she will need a rough idea of what to wear, and whether or not to eat first." I can definitely attest to the latter half of that sentence; a hungry girl will not be a good date.
"It is also unacceptable to arrange to meet or collect her and then to greet her by saying 'What would you like to do?' What is she to say? Apart from the fact that the responsibility should be taken by whoever issued the invitation, it is very unlikely that she will know what he is prepared to spend or how far he is prepared to travel." I wonder what Debrett's might say about modern dating on Tinder? Or unwanted photographs of the male anatomy via text. Oh my.
And if you are coupled, what about those dreaded parties you get dragged to by your spouse or for your child's playdate? How does one start a conversation with a stranger? "The first art of a good conversationalist is to put people at their ease. Conversation can hardly flourish in a stilted atmosphere."
Or here's a clumsy one that often happens. On the virtues of small talk, "Avoid asking people questions that might be on a government form or an application for a visa. One's heart often sinks when asked: "What do you do?' and 'Have you any children?'"
But my favorite part comes from a more serious section in "Invitations, Letters and Talk." Here on the difficult task of writing a letter of sympathy when someone has passed away, Debrett's cites the beautiful work of Henry James. In a letter to his close friend Sir Leslie Stephen (father of Virginia Woolf) on the death of his wife, James writes:
My dear Stephen,
I feel unable to approach such a sorrow as yours--and yet I can't forbear to hold out my hand to you. I think of you with inexpressible participation, and only take refuge from this sharp pain of sympathy in trying to call up the image of all the perfect happiness that you drew, and that you gave. I pray for you that there are moments when the sense of that rushes over you like a possession that you still hold. There is no happiness in this horrible world but the happiness we have had--the very present is ever in the jaws of fate. I think in the admirable picture of her perfect union with you, and that for her, at any rate, with all its fatigues and sacrifices, life didn't pass without the deep and clear felicity--the best it can give. She leaves no image but that of the high enjoyment of affection and devotions--the beauty and the good she wrought and the tenderness that came back to her. Unquenchable seems to me such a presence. But why do I presume to say these things to you, my dear Stephen? Only because I want you to hear them in the sound of the voice and feel the pressure of the hand of your affectionate old friend.
If anyone's gonna make a movie about a hand job and call it Art, it would be Wong Kar Wai. Cigarette smoke, Nat King Cole, moody interiors, and much (much) brooding over a glass of whiskey, neat--an escapist's dream come true. Spaces are cramped and, everyone has excellent hair all the time.
As one of WKW's lesser-known films, The Hand (a nod to Alexandre Dumas' La Dame aux Camélias) is a must for the self-proclaiming aficionado who likes to imagine herself among colorful wallpaper and form-fitting cheongsams. A short film at only 40 ish minutes long, The Hand is packed with color-obsessed scenes and signature WKW unrequited love story (because if it was requited, it would be called "marriage" and that's obviously not worth making a movie about, but I digress).
Miss Hua (Gong Li) is the high-end call girl with a taste for expensive clothes and Zhang (Chang Chen) is the naive tailor who....well...gets the hand job. Two, to be exact. Over the course of the film via Zhang's POV, we find that Miss Hua is losing her appeal (and her clientele). Her finances are a mess, she has a lover on the side who ditches her after she gets pregnant, and all the while Zhang continues to visit her for her fittings. We overhear her undignified calls to her past clients and we see that with each fitting her waistline grows. Finally, she falls from grace, whores herself out at the docks, gets sick, and dies of TB (while still looking good in a cheongsam).
Like Francois Truffaut, WKW's artistic skills really comes at portraying sensitive subjects with a subtle hand. We are never told that Miss Hua is pregnant and we never see any of her clients (except in one scene when we catch the back of a man storming out of her apartment). Even towards the end when she's bringing back men from the docks, all we see is a shot of her foot at the edge of a shaking bed frame. WKW trusts his audience enough to pick up on visual cues and to connect the dots for themselves throughout the film. The result is a piece layered in complexities--making art out of cultural taboos..
Of course there are some plot hole questions to point out (from the POV of a 2018 viewer). For example, why doesn't Miss get herself a roommate to help with the rent? What is she spending her money on that she has to sell all her jewelry she doesn't look like she eats that much? What happened to her baby? And is Zhang a virgin or something I mean, he looks like he's at least 35?
A city that lights up at night in neon and fluorescence. During the day, Shanghai isn't much to see--especially on days where there's heavy smog in the air and skyscrapers seem to disappear into the vague haze. But at night, they are outlined in illuminated squares of offices and apartments.
During summer evenings, whole families sit outside to cool off. They bring their lawn chairs onto the sidewalk, some even eat their dinners out in the open. The streets are lined with vendors leaning over bright green tarps selling anything from watermelons to phone trinkets that light up when you receive a call.
The very poor, the very rich, they're all jammed together here. Children begging on the street outside of a western cafe featuring a live jazz band nightly. The police come by every so often to shoo them away. A woman folding dumplings inside of a restaurant window. A chef kneading dough with a cigarette behind one ear. Men smoking on stoops while playing cards. A yellow Ferrari lurches bumper to bumper down Hua Hai Road's French Concession. Occasional rain that makes the concrete pavement reflect the storefronts selling floral dresses. Warm. Humid. A new mosquito bite on the back of your calf. Little bursts of cool air as you walk past sliding glass doors. People shouting about prices.
Then a rush of air conditioning when you step into one of the karaoke bars on Nanjing Road. Muffled music overhead, video games, flashing lights like the inside of a pinball machine. The air smells like cigarettes and fried tofu. A beautiful waitress bows to you at the door and ushers you to your private room. It has black leather couches, a big screen TV, and a glowing tile floor that alternates in pink and purple. Full menu service 24 hours. Buckets of ice, liters of Coca Cola, sweetened chrysanthemum tea, and a bottle of 104-proof baiju. Shanghai is open all night long.
Francois Truffaut seems to question many relationship conventions in Jules et Jim (1962), of which, "Can we love more than one person at a time?" "Can a woman love as freely as a man?" "Can we overcome jealousy?" and most importantly, "Are bros really before hoes?"
In this messy intrigue of ménage à trois, Jules and Jim's friendship are put to test when Catherine shows up to ruin the frat party. At one of their first outings as a trio in such the cool girl of Victorian era fashion, she dresses up in menswear and calls herself Thomas. She ends up fooling a passerby into giving her a light to prove she is one of the boys, but not before the camera pans to her pulling off a silk stocking just before the transformation. Both Jules and Jim are smitten of course--she seems to be the girl of their dreams: fun, feminine, and so full of manly bravado,
Then the war happens and Jules is sent back to fight for Austria while Jim fights for France. Jules (who is by now dating Catherine) writes her adoring love letters while also mentioning how much he's afraid he might end up killing Jim by accident (the two countries were at war). After the fact, Jules marries Catherine and Jim takes up with one girl after another, all the while secretly harboring feelings for Catherine. When the trio reunites again (now with Jules & Catherine's little daughter as well), it is like nothing has changed. The four frolic happily on the beach together and for a while, "The sky seemed so close."
The story takes a turn when Jules finally convinces Jim to hook up with Catherine because it's worse to lose her, but then Jim gets jealous that she hooks back up with Jules, her husband. Meanwhile, Jules tells Jim that Catherine has a third lover, a guitar-playing Albert from down the street. He is Catherine's most current lover in her succession of lovers since Jules married her.
Confused yet? I wouldn't be surprised if this is confusing even for Maury Povich. Not surprisingly, it all ends tragically, but I won't spoil it for you. Do watch it for yourself. It's available for rent on Amazon for $3.99.
While watching this film, I couldn't help but realize how terrible Truffaut must have thought of women. Both male characters are fully developed with moments of great tenderness and vulnerability between them, but Catherine is something of a beautiful two-bit narcissist. From an auteur as great as Francois Truffaut, I would expect a little more empathy for the opposite sex. Catherine isn't the only passive woman in the film--there's the girl at the bar who hooks up with strangers for sleeping accommodations with her cheap cigarette trick and Jim's girlfriend who doesn't seem to have any agency over his philandering. I can't even remember her character's name!
In spite of its shortcomings, Jules et Jim is still a piece of art. It's Francois Truffaut, after all! I have much respect for him as an artist, a visionary who created groundbreaking continuous shots in The 400 Blows and infused Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 with cinematic life. It's just that with the lens of a viewer in 2018, I question some of Truffaut's character choices. Why are we made to feel sorry for Jules when it was he who set up the whole tryst? He's a pathetic man! And was Jim really all that innocent that Catherine could seduce him? As memory serves, he was the one who idolized Catherine all those years, not to mention he kissed her first. All she did was reciprocate.
Catherine, I think, is the real victim in all of this. A woman who was played by the men who she thought loved her. She didn't know Jules knew about her infidelities. She didn't know Jules encouraged Jim to go after her. Once she fell in love with Jim (and I believe she really did), she didn't know that Jim kept confiding in Jules for advice on how to deal with her (that's two against one!). You knew what you were getting into, bro!
I don't deny that Catherine's character is a narcissist. But so is Jim, who had a girlfriend back in Paris. So is Jules, who didn't want to let Catherine go so he arranged the entire affair. Maybe both should have just left her alone in the first place.
A quote from Fitzgerald'sThe Great Gatsby comes to mind. It is from another passive woman character: Daisy Fay Buchanan recounting having just given birth, "[The nurse] told me it was a girl, and so I turned my head away and wept. 'All right,' I said, 'I'm glad it's a girl. And I hope she'll be a fool—that's the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool."
In the end of Truffaut's ménage à trois, nobody's happy. Though it does make for good cinema.
I am reminded of death while hiking across the unrestored wall. A common anecdote from Beijingers is how many people died building this fortress, corpses mixed into the powdery gray bricks beneath our feet. The longest cometary in the world with more than a million dead, I'm told. Even that is a conservative guess. Where we were, the "Wild Wall," far from the tourist buses and vendors selling bottled water, resembled the ruins of ancient Rome more than anything grandiose that Trip Advisor had promised. A rusty sign declared NOT OPEN TO THE PUBLIC NO ADMITTANCE. Centuries of weather, warfare, and plunder from the nearby villagers had taken a toll on this spine that defined a country. What remained were uneven and overgrown. SAMMY + ALAN FUCKED HERE 2015 was scrawled on one of the lookout towers we passed, marking the bodily exchange as fleeting as the chalk in which it was written. I presumed they were Americans.
Death, like sex, is ordinary. Life is merely life. A million deaths in a country of 1.7 billion currently, whose population goes back to ancient civilizations. How insignificant, I felt, standing there in this heat, making this trek back to the land where I was born. What was I hoping to accomplish? To reconnect to home? How much does this home really care about me? How naive for Sammy and Alan to mark their love? As if any of it mattered.
Back in the US and walking down Green Street in Pasadena, I noticed swollen mounds of concrete beneath my feet and wondered whether the construction workers, probably dressed in their government-assigned reflective vests, knew they too were laying the foundations of an empire. Or were they just one of the millions and billions, trying to get by another day without getting mixed into the ground.
The world overwhelms me. Nothing is more real than my own powerlessness, my body floating in the external vastness beyond flesh and bones. In Beijing, there was a familiarity in the foreign--the Chinese signs outside of restaurants that I couldn't read on Day 1 of this trip came to resemble something with meaning by Day 10. I suddenly remembered the Chinese classes I took in Venice High School, even that song from Big Bird Goes to China. But in Los Angeles, my real home, there's a foreignness in the familiar--my Americanness is always qualified as Chinese on an application or an event survey. That when I create art, the question of narrative and identity comes up. Who am I? Where do my bones belong? In China where I was born? Or in the US where I was raised? And will my tombstone be carved in Chinese? In English? Or in the dialect of my side of Los Angeles: Spanglish?
Home and identity seems as arbitrary as living and dying on a monument to empire, an assemblage of brick that connects and divides. Why bother? Why not live? After 5 hours of hiking in 90-degrees heat at an incline and no vendors selling me bottled water to quench my thirst, I could care less where I was from. All I wanted was to do at that moment was sit down, preferably in air conditioning with a cold beer. Who cares about culture and history and the nonsense that marks my identity. I am a human after all and the only thing certain is death. So to hell with it. Let's all copulate on the Great Wall. And let's mark this grand occasion in fleeting chalk.
Every winter when the temperature drops I would get sentimental over a man named Horace. He was the 80-something security guard at my last apartment in Downtown. Each night I would come home to find Horace in the foyer reading the latest copy of the National Enquirer. He called most of the people at my building "young man," or "young lady," but he called me "Miss Jian." We would talk about the news, about who got abducted by aliens today, and what I was planning to make myself for dinner. It was my most favorite part of the day.
He was tall and thin, with a head of white curls and a voice that popped like firecrackers. He kept the college kids in check when they partied too loud. He preferred taking the stairs up to the rooftop instead of the elevators. Sometimes, I would catch him up there staring across the late night sky at a brightly lit City Hall down Spring Street. He said the view up here was beautiful.
He died of a heart attack the day after my 30th birthday. I heard someone had found him in the garage where he parked on Spring and 2nd. He was wearing his security uniform when he died.
We rode up the elevator together the night of my birthday. I told him I turned 30 and he said I didn't look a day over 22. I asked why he didn't take the stairs and he told me he was tired. On the 5th floor, he wished me a happy birthday. I hugged him. Then I got out of the elevator and the doors closed. Horace kept going.
I think of him often. Horace made coming home to an empty apartment a little less lonely. I have tried searching for his grave. I have searched online databases for a Horace Talley who died on February 28, 2015 in a parking garage in Los Angeles, Calif. Age: approx late 80s. Occupation: security. Relationship: friend. I know he was a veteran of the Navy and I know he liked El Pollo Loco. I wish I knew more. I have asked building management, residents, even the security company where he worked...nothing, though I haven't given up hope. I would still like to find him one day so I can finally pay my respects in person and tell him how much he meant to me.
Wherever you are Horace, I miss you.
Bits & Pieces
A place for experimentation, a place for pieces unpolished and unpublished, a place to work out thoughts and ideas for larger collections. Typos aplenty. Enjoy (or not).