This would have been Spalding Gray’s 70th birthday. Coincidentally, Bob Dylan’s 70th happened recently. Last October, I noted on trolleydodger.com that Joe Torre and John Lennon would have both been 70. These strange collisions of ages, backgrounds, and celebrity are significant mostly in that it interests me, a fan of all four. All born at the beginning of WWII, in 1940 or 1941. They are all connected with New York City in some way, some place I’ve never been. Two still alive, one murdered, one suicide.
Back in March 2004, I posted here about Spalding Gray’s death, beginning:
And so, Spalding Gray is dead. He saw it coming, worried over it, knew it was possible, likely even, given his history, for his entire life. Add in the car wreck, the injuries, the stressors coming left and right….
His mother once asked him, “How shall I do it? Shall I do it in the garage with the car?”
She wound up doing that very thing when he was 26. He died when he was 62. He would have appreciated the symmetry.
I don’t have any more answers about the questions I posed in that essay, now seven years after. What I do know is I still miss him terribly.
You notice patterns as you get older, like the coincidental ages of four celebrities, and you look for deeper patterns there. Just to check. Sometimes the deeper patterns are meaningful, sometimes not, but it’s always more about you the observer/seeker than about the patterns. You are the pattern.
I read everything by him up to Morning, Noon, and Night. I still haven’t read Life Interrupted: The Unfinished Monologue (published in 2005), nor seen the Steven Soderbergh documentary on his life, “And Everything Is Going Fine”, which came out last year. I’m sure I’ll get around to both, but it’s a measure of how much I miss him that I’ve not been able to bring myself to either. Yet.
I like telling the story of life better than I do living it.