in the early morning hours of saturday, september 21st, one of my greatest and most loved mentors died in southern california. my sweet, sweet Marc. he was 71 years old. i had no idea he was even sick. no one really did.
400+ miles away, i'm sitting in bed with a cocktail, finally free to cry after battling through a night of waiting tables where i wanted to cry every 20 minutes. i only went to work today in the hopes of getting out of my own head. i only went to work today to make Marc proud.
god, i loved that man. i really did. i do still. it doesn't matter how many years it's been since i last set foot in my home town, i still love the people i love and Marc was an enormous influence. i adored him from the second i heard him speak. i took my first class from him at the age of 18 and studied under him for 7 consecutive years. he taught me how to make a mark. a REAL mark. "make a bold mark early in a drawing," he said. "It doesn't matter if it ends up in the wrong place and needs to be erased; you've given yourself something to respond to and that's what art is all about." and as i write those words, i see it's a lesson that can be (needs to be) translated into all areas of life... especially now when everything feels so raw and so dire and so fucking lonely. i can't help but lend my voice to that tired refrain but it is absolutely true: when mike called and told me Marc had died, i felt like a light had gone out in the world.
i hung on that man's every word. i loved listening to him speak. he had such a great voice. so full of sensuality and humor and generosity. after i'd been taking classes from him for a few years, i caught myself one day thinking, "... if only he were 15 years younger". hahaha! and i fucking meant it too! his love of humanity and beauty was evident in the way he talked. the lilt of his speech betrayed what a lover he was and i loved him for it. in fact, i adored him to the point of anxiety. i don't know that i ever completely relaxed around him. i was so enamored of him and so impressed with him that it was hard for me to be entirely myself... i wanted him to like me too much. i wanted him to be pleased with me. i wanted to make him proud.
i was at fucking Forever 21 when my beloved friend Mike called and gave me the news. at first, it felt like a joke. there was no way this was real. after about 20 minutes had passed, i tasted tears in my throat and knew i needed to find a bit of privacy. i hung the clothes i was holding back on a rack and went outside. it was pouring rain. i ducked in to the alcove of a broken elevator and curled my self against the corner where two walls met, my back to the street, my face hidden from view. there, i cried as i listened to Mike tell me about his last moments with Marc. i pushed myself as far into the corner as i could go and covered my face with my hands.
i'm going to stay up late drawing tonight. it's the best thing i can do and the best way to honor Marc. i can make a bold mark once more and give myself something to respond to... a place to put the agony of my loneliness, the emptiness that charges forward with such brutality and callousness. i can carve out a space for beauty and resilience and love somewhere in between these tortures and roll around in the tall, black grass of his grace... a sliver of the generosity such a deeply affective mentor and friend bestowed to me.
i miss you, Marc. it really fucking sucks that i didn't get to hug and kiss you one last time and listen to your stories. god, i've missed your voice. i've missed it for so long and now i will go on missing it.
i lit a Yahrzeit candle for him last night. the flame was so tall. it stayed that way all night, lighting up my room the way i would light up whenever i was in the same room with him. it made me happy to see such a tall flame on his candle. it suits him. it suits how i feel for him. what a bright light that man was. absolutely brilliant.
i love you.