Just a few jottings peripheral to my tear-stained opus this week.

First, thanks to Steve Bouton, who happened to be here visiting the week of September 11, 2002, and was no doubt perplexed by the fuligin funk I was in. I was perplexed myself until I saw the old invitation to that gallery opening and remembered I’ve been at least moody, and frequently downright glum, the second week of September ever since the events recounted in the essays. Steve was literally standing by my side when I saw the invitation and made the connection.

Second, in the four times I’ve been back to Bloomington since 1990, I have twice been attendant to other passings (in varying degree), both of friends’ parents. I must admit it makes me mildly thoughtful each time I consider a visit.

Third, there were at least two other newspaper articles concerning the accident and so forth published at the time in addition to the long article I mention in the body of the essays. I have them somewhere; when next they surface out of the sea of information through which I swim in the physical world, I’ll grasp them firmly, wet scales glistening beneath the overhead lights, and scan them in order to instantiate their digital doubles here, behind the glass.

Fourth, I am by no means the only person thinking about their dead this week. I suspect that after the media haze of 9-11: Year One cleared, most of us spent some time thinking about our loved and lost. Here are two:

Better Sportswear – Anne Zender

PSYCHE: 2, HEATHER: NIL – Heather the Little Cabbage

Heather’s dream and Frankenstein‘s declaration that September is Remembrance Month helped prompt me to write this, once I’d realized why I was sooo gloomy.

I’ve begun to receive emails from people concerned, somehow, about intruding by leaving a comment. I believe this is partly due to my mentioning the difficult issues of privacy and grief associated with the events. I made a decision to write this publicly; there’s some irony there, I guess. But I’m aware of the choice I made here. Feel free to comment: others will appreciate it too.

Concerning the writing itself: I, believe it or not, was also working very long hours on my first week at a new job, which I mentioned last week. I’m a News Editor at Cinescape, a web and print genre entertainment magazine; and getting going was very time consuming. So, you won’t be surprised to hear, was writing this series. I’d sit down between news cycles and write as directly, honestly, and for want of a better word, as hard as I could.

I did spellcheck. I did not outline or meaningfully revise. My thoughts to your thoughts, my mind to your mind… If you know your original series Trek, you know what Spock says to Kirk next.

Last but not least, in addition to the spookily resonant music of my main man Dale (I mean, come ON! “You and your Sister”? “Sometimes I wanna change the world all around”? ), and, as I’m sure you all know by now Jason Webley, allow me to give a shout out to the inimitable, lovely Neko Case, whose 2000 work of genius, Furnace Room Lullaby, was originally released on Mint Records. Ms. Case now has a brand new record out, Black Listed, I’ve not heard yet.

Thrice All American“, about hometowns and loss; and “South Tacoma Way” would cause me to stop and sing aloud each time they came on this week.

Chicagoans, get thee to her shows.

South Tacoma Way, Neko Case + Her Boyfriends
I put on that sweater you gave me
I woke up in the kitchen a few minutes later
I didn’t know how I had gotten there
did you guide me

I didn’t make it to your funeral
I didn’t want ritual nor resign
I just wanted to hold hands with
J.P. and Mary-Jo
But I couldn’t conjure tears

We’re too good for stupid angels
Blackness held his breath beside me
burned the air till it was gone
Till it was gone
Till it was gone

Couldn’t pay my respects to a dead man
your life was much more to me
and I chased away with sticks and stones
but that rage kept followin’ me
followin me
followin me

so lost up a sleeve in the palms of your hands
in dreams we were happy and safe
I can’t comprehend the ways I miss you
they come to life in my mistakes
in my mistakes
in my mistakes

Now I’m drivin’ down Tacoma Way
and the world turns in slow motion
It’s the twilight of our old home
and I’m still in love with you

oh here on South Tacoma Way
We’ve memories for matinees
and the tears come warm and heavy
and the cross streets bear your name
oh the cross streets bear your name

Thanks again to all of you for letting me do this. I don’t know what reading it has been like for you; I hope you found it worthwhile.

One thought on “… notes

  1. Hi, Mike–lovely, sad, passionate writing this past week. With each installment, I dreaded what the next one would say, but I had to keep reading anyhow. I sometimes write songs in Irish to express things quite that deeply; I sort of see that as my “spiritual language”, though I don’t yet speak it fluently. It also reminds me of why I still do private memorials for my all-time favorite musician (Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan), who died exactly 20 years to the day after Elvis’ passing (August 16, 1997), though that was five years ago. Anyway, thanks for contributing this story…

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