Not Painless, or "There’s no way I could tell you/What he meant to me"

UPDATE: NYT Obituary here. Some book cover images added.

Two years ago at Readercon, I found myself doing some hero-worship in the Green Room.

Friday, we had discovered that my piece on Jorge Luis Borges was the first of the appreciations of that year’s Memorial Guest of Honor. (I assume this was because of its length.) Saturday, Shira and I had interviewed living GoH Jim Morrow. Sunday afternoon was going to be for seeing old friends.

Sunday morning, I came out of a panel, and there was Tom Disch, sitting alone in the Green Room.*

So I got five minutes—maybe ten—of getting to bubble over about “The Cardinal Detoxes” and On Wings of Song and Black Alice and The Castle of Indolence.

And he asked about why I was there, and I mumbled something, and Shira pointed out that I had written reviews for The Washington Post—to this man who had been the best reason to read The Nation for much of my early adult life.

And I asked about the rumors that he had stopped writing due to depression over his partner’s death (possibly not that directly), and he said he was still writing, and a few week’s later I found that he did indeed have some works scheduled to come out. And I believed him.

But apparently, that stopped being true.

If I’m at all qualified to have the politics of an Angry Bear, On Wings of Song should get much of the credit. (The excesses are mine.)

Subtitle reference (YouTube link).

*We had seen him on Friday night, having a pleasant dinner with Pamela Zoline, but that’s not a conversation one interrupts to hero-worship, even if you’re not trying to ride herd over two children in a dark bar.