Fare thee well



I was awake from 2AM until a bit past 4 this morning and so am moving through molasses today. Not sure what woke me, but soon after Louie wanted to go for a walk and we did. We like walking in the snow – he loves it, and it’s about as tranquil as this city gets, the wee small hours in inclement weather. We walked around the block, and around again, and then when we came back up I was wide awake and so I worked a bit on my novel. I’m really excited about the prospect of finishing a draft in the relatively near future. The feedback I’ve gotten from my class and from my carefully selected readers has been incredibly helpful and I wish I could just take the next two weeks and work on this nonstop . But things get in the way or take precedence – so I am pacing myself more than I’d hoped to. 

I’ve spent several years biting off less than I can chew; it’s time I do the opposite, and between these two classes and a couple of other endeavors, this is my goal, manifesting. 

There’ve been two very sad deaths in the past couple of days, one man I knew personally and one I didn’t. The latter is the great Philip Seymour Hoffman. What an exquisite talent he was, and what a tragic loss. Social media is trying to blame Hollywood for “letting him” get to the place where he was. This is not how it works, people. It doesn’t matter how successful one is or how much potential one has or whatever – that which fuels addiction pays no attention to such platitudes. Self-doubt is self-doubt no matter who the doubter is, and perceived weakness is the same. Heroin – addiction of any sort – can take hold and keep it regardless of what the outside world seems to offer. He was a brilliant actor – I’ve had the great fortune of seeing him on stage, off-Broadway, as well as on screen. He clearly had people who loved him and children who relied on him and all of those things that “should” give a man reason to stay healthy. That’s not how addiction works. Regardless of the details, let us just stop with the blame and the accusation and the judgment and let us acknowledge that a beautiful soul and an exquisite talent has died. Rest in peace, dear man. You were a talent like no other.

The other person who’s left us is someone I did know, Neil Bagg, a longtime agent with my father’s company in LA. He was a South African gentleman, smart, witty, generous, and by all accounts, an excellent agent. He worked for the company for over a decade, but because he was based in LA I didn’t know him well. Some years ago, at the suggestion of someone on the east coast, I contacted him for advice about a project I was working on. I was out of my element and worried that it would be very obvious — this was back in the days when I felt the need to try to “fake it”, versus admitting when I was out of my element. Neil was incredibly helpful and patient and kind, and we struck up a friendship that took the form of emails and occasional check-ins by phone. He remembered my birthday and called to wish me a happy one. He never made me feel like the outsider I so often felt like then. I knew he’d been ill for the past couple of years but I did not realize until I learned the news that he was nearing the end of this life. 

A toast to you, Neil – may you rest in peace and know that you made an enormous difference in so many lives. I am very saddened by your loss and I am grateful to have known you.

Until we meet again.


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