A friend of mine from high school died on Sunday. Funeral services are today. I can't go, seeing as how I'm on the west coast. His name was Marc Gold. He'd been fighting leuukemia for awhile. I think people in their mid-20s feel just as immortal as teenagers, for that brief period. You managed to avoid all the diseases that kill children, and you're too young to die from those that afflict the elderly. Health issues arise, but you know they'll only get serious down the line. Despite my awareness of mortality, I've always carried the subconscious thought that, after graduating college, you're free to go off and start a family and live a lifetime of adventures. Dying at 26 is not right. But that's how it is.
I met Marc when we were both in eighth grade. He was a very smart person who I didn't get to know better until high school. Wicked sense of humor. He was a go-to guy for the school improv team, and a mainstay in the theatre program. He once wrote a play for dinner theatre that got banned for being too racy. So he wrote a play about a play being banned instead. Directed it, too. After high school, Marc went to Columbia University. He will be missed by many.
I feel grateful for the fact that, after nearly 30 years, I've never had to bury someone who was very close to me. I've never had the kind of death where it feels like someone chopped off your arms. Both of my parents are still alive. My maternal grandparents are still alive, and my paternal ones died long before I was born. All of my best friends are still with me. I'm as a lucky as a man can get, in that regard. It's strange when anybody I know dies; I always get that feeling of "Now's the time to go out and live my life! Because who knows what tomorrow will bring!" Its a natural, though kind of selfish feeling, and one I never really follow up on. And something I should be doing anyway. Sometimes I wonder why humans are so good at spinning any event into something about themselves.
Right now a lot of my friends from high school are in the old home town, at the funeral and rememberance services. I wish I could be there with them. Another thing I feel grateful for is, a decade after we graduated, the ties of friendship are so tight between many of us. At the time, high school felt like a hellish emotional rollercoaster. It was also a community, and all the important bonds are still there, strong as steel.
R.I.P. Marc Gold
The new Baby Killer Estelle album is online, available for free download. It's called Awaken Necroplis and its beautiful. Its also got the long version of my story "Graveyard Shift" with some pretty trippy illustrations. Two years ago the singer for BKE commissioned me to do a piece for the album's liner notes. The funnest part of writing it was creating an homage to weird fiction. I've heard it described as Lovecraftian, and there's some of that in there. The story was primarily inspired by Clark Ashton Smith and his macabre occult tales. Then there's some Robert E. Howard influence in the bloodletting. It was cool to write a piece where I could cut loose. This story has gore and sex like any good pulp should. So download the album: http://babykillerestelle.bandcamp.com/album/awaken-necropolis Read the liner notes for some violent, sexy entertainment. Listen to the album for some mind-blowing anarcho-punk-piano-jazz. Baby Killer Estelle: great job, guys.