I was preparing for his death for so long that when he died I wasn’t surprised. A bit relieved. I shouldn’t say that. But I knew it was coming, and I always worried about it, waiting for the phone call, then worried I wouldn’t get one. When his step-dad died, I knew his mom would die soon. She did, and then I cried for days because I knew it was only a matter of time until he gave up living. All his friends knew what that meant. Friends for over a decade, we knew.
I just loved him so much. It was too painful to watch him die slowly, drink by drink, day by day. And yet, all I feel is regret. I don’t know what I could have done. He was having delusions, with all the booze, solitary living, unhealthy food. In every possible way he was poisoning himself.
This week was the first ever Beatnik Shindig, hosted by The Beat Museum in San Francisco. I’m a huge Beat fan and have been since I was 19 years old. I’m so very fortunate to have worked with and become friends with Director and Founder of the Beat Museum, Jerry Cimino and his wife Estelle (whom he met in a bookshop after graduating college!).
For me, The Beat Museum is much more than a museum: it’s a gathering place, one that draws people in and invites them to be comfortable and share their stories. It is an all important archive of all things Beat. Someone called Jerry up and said, hey I have an old piano that used to be Allen Ginsberg’s. If you drive up here and pick it up, you can have it! People want to contribute to the Museum and help preserve this literary history. The Beat generation were a bunch of miscreants (I say this with love as I would identify myself and many of my friends as thus) who moved around a lot and couldn’t seem to settle down. As a result, things they owned, touched, used, are all over the country. People don’t know what to do with these items, but they realize this Beat history is a large part of our American literary canon, and they want to contribute. Continue reading →
Ernest Cline spoke at Kepler’s Books through Peninsula Arts & Lectures. Kepler’s Books is in Menlo Park, which is a trek, a 40 minute Caltrain ride from San Francisco. My friend Gib, came with me, as well as my friend, author Doug Henderson. So that’s three book nerds riding the train 40 minutes to see an author speak. However, there was a delay of some sort so our ride was more like 80 minutes. Continue reading →
Chuck Palahniuk spoke through the Commonwealth Club’s Inforum group at San Francisco’s Castro Theater. If you are familiar with Chuck’s writing, you’ll understand that he doesn’t do anything like others do. His voice and stories are unique because he is. Chuck’s books aren’t meant to be provocative. He isn’t writing to shock people. He is writing stories for people who like them, who get him, who also see the world differently. Chuck tells the stories he knows and understands. He tells the stories that were whispered to him by nervous people that want to confess, want to share their secrets. When people are shocked, it is because they are entering an unfamiliar territory, one in which they are uncomfortable with things they don’t understand or do not like. Continue reading →