Tuesday, December 15, 2020

It should always end in "I love you"


Of all the posts and remembrances that people have posted about Nadine Darling, the one that most rang true was, "The last words we said to each other was 'I love you.' I'm glad for that." These were the last words she had said to me as well, but that was more than 18 months ago, way before moving to Medford, Oregon. I'm not glad for that--I don't do well keeping up with people. Yesterday, when I received a call from my friend Rusty informing me that she had passed from complications of liver failure, I had no words. I actually had no words, and I felt useless that I could not process the information or say or do anything for the person on the other end either.  I've now be able to process, with the help of others memories and grief. Here are some thoughts.

     I was always wowed by her writing, that pure talent, and use of metaphor. The human element in it. It seemed so natural.

     Nadine and I met at Scrawl, an on-line writing workshop, and whenever we participated in the Flash and Chat, (an exercise where you write for an hour and give a critique to everyone else who had written), it made me want to either be better, or quit writing. It was that good, and produced in an hour!  How was that possible? It was like magic. One thing I've often mentioned is when I am stuck with my own writing, I'll read one of her pieces, just to feel it---to live in its cadence, and explode out of it with something of my own. 

    Nadine and I shared a love of pop culture, and made often fun of it. When writing my novel, The Thursday Appointments of Bill Sloan, which is loaded with 70's satire, I used to run things by her to see if they rang true or were too obscure. Nothing was ever too obscure, as she knew them all, from the Brady Bunch to Musical Youth.  She was also kind enough to offer a blurb for my next book, which I know, is a very gracious gesture to do.

     Then there was the Dire Literary Series. Before Nadine took over an evening of Dire for her book launch she had attended earlier, and telling me how I was a cross between Chuck Barris and Gene Rayburn. Then she made me Gene Rayburn at the launch. It was probably the most fun and memorable live Dire Literary series in the 18 years I did it live. I let her plan everything. She wrote scripts to act out about Oxi-Clean that evening, and re-created the Match Game--with set, sound effects etc. Of course there was a reading from her book, She Came From Beyond, complete with a dog in her lap. Most of this evening was caught on video and I previously posted it HERE.

    When the series ended, or when I thought it had ended before the zoom pandemic version, Nadine was asked to feature with an All-Star lineup. "Of course, I'd be honored," she replied.

    These things, all of them combined, always made people feel that they were valued and important. It was one of her strengths. She also was a huge battler for women's rights, the toxic masculinity syndrome, the rights and treatment of those LGBTQ community. The energy and bluntness that she and her friends had regarding such social issues helped me redefine where I should be and how I should act---and for an old stubborn white man, reprogramming my learned behavior was.  

     I am shocked and saddened that she is gone, and my heart breaks for the love of her life, Ken, their three young children and her four step children. She was described as a wonderful mother and pet owner. One of her friends wrote"Nadine was so worried about how Christmas would be for these children. One of the last things she worked on was a Christmas list for them. We want to do our best to honor Nadine by giving her children a happy Christmas despite their profound loss." HERE

        One thing I've always said is to not waste life's time. I wish you all to remember that, remember her especially, to always end interactions with those whom you care about with "I love you."


Some of my favorites 

It's All True, from Smokelong Quarterly

Puppy Wonderland from Eclectica

Haircut from Pank

Amazing Animal Facts from Alice blue Review

Her review the movie Rudy  - boy did it piss off a lot of men.

Below was taken from a reading in 2006, in Salem, Ma. The other parts of the reading were on separate links, not included, and what I was reading back then, I'm not necessarily proud of, but Nadine killed that day per usual.