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Try a Little Tenderness

Steven Cohen has a post on Library Stuff about regretting comments as of late. I posted a comment, but all I can say on FRL, sitting here in the wet darkness of a California winter that won’t stop, is that I’m glad the Steven I know is back: that funny, quirky, unafraid, observant, but basically decent guy with a shrewd eye for interesting new technologies.

A few times in the past few weeks I had considered posting about what I considered some over-the-top personal attacks out there in the Biblioblogosphere, but by and large I prefer to stay out of the vortex. You know the vortex: that sucking black hole of negativism, where you are always reacting to some negative thing that someone else wrote about something else that so-and-so said… with some sotto voce egging-on from the various axe-grinders here and there. With as little time as I have to post to begin with, falling into the vortex seemed a bad investment. But I wondered where the vortex would eventually swirl, and who would be caught in its path.

It’s odd how life patterns fall into place. Steven talks about regrets. Right now I’m writing about regrets. Thirty years ago, I had a friend I cared about, a young man who was a big brother to me. I moved away, I lost contact… my friend became ill and died. Only in the last month, through a strange coincidence, have I learned what happened to him. His name was David Hummel, and he was a very good man. I’ve drafted a portrait about David, which is also a portrait of the San Francisco Castro in the late 1970s, and it feels good to be making amends. I consider it to be the essay that explains to me why I’m in the MFA program. David was there for me, and I am now there for him.

Steven, a lot of us are there for you, too.

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