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I miss Spalding Gray

October 18, 2011

JournalsOfSpaldingGrayCoverDespite the public mourning over various public figures in the last few years (Steve Jobs, Michael Jackson, Princess Di), I must say that only a few deaths of public figures have emotionally touched me.  The big exception to this rule was Spalding Gray’s suicide in 2004.  I first saw one of his monologues when I was only 16, and I have been a big fan ever since.  I used to frequently see Gray attending some of the same performances I did in New York.  I even met him personally twice.

Fortunately, Gray at least left a brief body of work for us to continue to enjoy – and thanks to the efforts of Steven Soderbergh, even gave us a new performance last year (in the form of a Spalding-narrated autobiographical film, now available on DVD.)

gray 2Today, Gray left us a new book, The Journals of Spalding Gray.  I don’t think it is his best book, but anything from this voice we have missed is welcome.  In homage to aleatoricism (a word I learned from another public figure I miss, John Cage), I randomly opened the book and came across page 262, where I read these two entries:

November 18, 1998

DREAM:  That I was waiting in line to be guillotined, have my head cut off, and Woody Allen was the guy next to me.

gray 3November 18, 1998

I no longer know the difference between intuition and paranoia; the truth attacks the lie and the lie eats the truth; they are so close now they suck each other’s tail soon to the catch the body, eat it and become one.

If you wish to read more of Gray’s journal, an excerpt was published in the New York Times.



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