Dear Gore Vidal,
Few writers have touched my life the way you did. Your stories have enriched my life, haunted my memories, and were the lens through which I viewed my twenties. In 2003, my sister gave me a copy of your novel, The City and the Pillar, which is not only one of the very first novels to openly discuss complex gay characters, but is also the most heartwrenching work of fiction I have ever read. Equally captivating are your memoirs, Palimpsest and Point to Point Navigation. Through sharing your fascinating life story, you also shared your humanity. Your work is a reminder to be thoughtful about life, to appreciate the riches that lie within the people around us, and to find pleasure in our complicated relationships.
Below are some images of you throughout your life. From your writing career to your time in Hollywood to your political aspirations, you lived a fascinating life. Luckily, in addition to your incredible body of work you left behind a beautiful collection of photographs for us to remember you by. Enjoy.
Thank you for your work. It has truly changed my life.
Filed under California, RIP, Sad
I was in the car on Sunday after the Rose Bowl Flea Market and a Whitney medley came on the radio. At which point tears started streaming down my face. I was a little confused as to what I was so upset about. After all, it’s not like I was besties with Whitney Houston or that I was one of her biggest fans. Quite the contrary, I made fun of her crazy antics along with everyone else. But upon further investigation I’ve decided what bothers me so much about her death is the loss of something so beautiful, a gift so incredibly rare and wasted.
When I think of Whitney, I think of her in the 80s. She was blessed with such an incredible gift and it came in such a beautiful, exuberant, youthful package. Her performance in the video for “How Will I Know” (which is maybe my favorite song alongside “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”) is the essence of vitality. She just drips with beauty and talent in this video.
Here’s the video:
I also love these images of Whitney in the 80s and 90s. They are photographs of somebody who could have (and did at times) had everything. Sure, she was hardworking and ambitious, and that counts for something. But she was born with an innate gift, an unparralleled voice, that ultimately went wasted. That seems kind of harsh, given how many songs she created over her life, but she could have created more. When you love an artist, you just can’t get enough of her work and I definitely think we didn’t get enough of Whitney.
The sadness about her death, aside from the tragedy of someone with a family dying so young, is for me about a lost opportunity to create beautiful things. When she died she was no longer the youthful, vibrant siren she was in her 20s, but I always had this subconscious hope that she would clean herself up and somehow get her voice back so that she could continue to create beautiful songs to share with us. When someone talented dies too early, it feels like a robbery and a waste (recently deceased artist Mike Kelly and incredible talent Amy Winehouse come to mind).
With all these thoughts in mind I’m not going to feel weird about mourning the death of a stranger. With Whitney we’ve lost not only an American icon. We’ve lost something beautiful, an artist who created wonderful things that made us happy and, in ways small and large, enriched our lives.
Dear Amy Winehouse,
I’m always weirded out when I get sad that a celebrity has died. It’s not like I knew you or anything. I guess what I found so disturbing was the absolute waste of it all. Someone with such an incredible gift who threw it all away for reasons I don’t fully understand. You died and that sucks for everyone, but I just came across these beautiful images taken of you by Hedi Slimane:
Just more evidence that you went too soon. RIP, Amy.