The following is a poem that my friend Liz LaVenture wrote after the Ghost Ship tragedy in Oakland. She has graciously allowed me to reprint it. I find it beautiful in the power of her language.
People on the edge –
Creative, innovating minds –
Intersecting oppressions –
Intersecting life experiences –
People of Color, Latina/o, White,
or Gender Fluid –
Searching, Creating –
a new Way.
A New Life –
Gone, Dead –
Erased in a Flash of Flame –
a Cloud of Smoke.
Sailing a Sea of Dreams –
on a Ghost Ship.
Liz e LaVenture – 12/09/16
With thanks to Meghan McCain, one of the most inspirational eulogies I have ever heard.
“My father gone. My father is gone and my sorrow is immense, but I know his life, and I know it was great because it was good. And as much as I hate to see him go, I do know how it ended. I know that on the afternoon of August 25th in front of Oak Creek in Arizona, surrounded by the family he loved so much, an old man shook off the scars of battle one last time and arose a new man to pilot one last flight up and up and up, busting clouds left and right, straight on through to the kingdom of heaven. And he slipped the earthly bonds, put out his hand, and touched the face of god.
I love you, dad.”
This is a story of an author and how his works have inspired me. John Sundman has written several novels including “Cheap Complex Devices” and “Acts of The Apostles” as well as “Biodigital” and “The Pains.” I first learned of John’s works with AOTA and never looked back. I read this book 17 times the first year I bought it and even jumped at a chance to own a draft copy of the book that John signed for me. As the years passed by and my kids were grown, I would continue to refer to AOTA during difficulties and tribulations. There is a reoccurring theme (in my mind mostly) of a main character liking the works of a certain guitar player’s band playing at the Royal Albert Hall. I don’t want to ruin even one iota of this ground breaking book for anyone. Suffice to say, I pretty much say this all the time. Really.
Throughout the years I would hear from John either with a tweet or I would checkout his website HERE. John lives in Martha’s Vineyard and is a retired firefighter (I know, he’s an amazing human being) as well as a husband and father. His bio is the bio by which all bio’s would be judged (and found wanting.) You’d think that this successful author would be one of those guys whom you would see at comic cons surrounded by sycophants and no way would you ever get a word with. You’d be wrong. John is one of the nicest and caring individuals you’d ever meet and I have had the honor of trading emails every now and then. So if you are ever by chance at the Royal Albert Hall someday, turn it up. Thanks John.
You can get a copy of “Biodigital” here at: http://johnsundman.com/mail-list-sign-up/ for the price of a simple email subscribe to his newsletter. He is as unpretentious as they come.