I lost a friend today and was caught off guard by the impact. I came in from tennis this afternoon. I intended a quick scan of my Facebook before a shower and was stunned by the first post I saw.
Alan passed away 3/25/13 of a stroke at 7:50 PST. I know he told me a lot how he loved having so many friends on here.
I met Alan only a few months ago on Empire Avenue. We saw the world very differently, but I loved each of my encounters with him. Even when he was in a depressive stage, he maintained his generosity of spirit. He was stubborn, and I’m told that I am a bit strong willed. We had many lengthy Facebook chats and seldom completely agreed. I am barely a blogger, both in terms of quality and output; so I was awestruck by his daily blog effort. He only seemed to notice the days that he missed. As any artist, he never seemed to be quite satisfied by his work. As a critic, he was always kind and constructive to others. I growled at him about excessive generosity with everyone but himself.
I once told Alan about an unfortunate encounter with chicory coffee on an early morning after the night before. As a native of New Orleans, he loved my silly tale. Both the fun of late night Bourbon Street, and the penalty extracted the next morning. Alan was a great audience.
Alan was amazingly transparent in his writing, his struggles with mood disorder, his fights with writer’s block, his gay bearness; so much of his life. He was so generous with the intimacy of his words, but he valued his privacy. I suspect an artifact of his activist years. I thought his choice to avoid a photo as an avatar was a contrapuntal note that added a bit of richness & intrigue. He once bragged that even after hours of chatting together I would not pick him out of a lineup. Today was the first time I saw an image of Alan. I did a web search to find a bit more and was pleased to find this photo. It would probably irritate him just a little; so I think it is a fitting tribute.
Rest in Peace dear friend; until we meet again!