In June of 1992 I came home after a Cotati visit bearing
profound realization Vito was dying. I could see death- it was the
first time I SAW him wearing death. For me, the skull appears to come
forward; the flesh-blood-life recedes, there's a soft cool gray aura.
I started mourning immediately getting in my car. I continued
processing this sad truth by propagating more life: my house plants
all got divided & repotted. I started a couple hundred 4" clay pots
with cacti & succulent cuttings. I dug new areas into the garden. I
touched every carving Vito gave me. I painted. I cried.
I started writing this piece of prose. It was supreme catharsis.
Each Cotati visit brought up deep feelings within seeking expression.
For 4 months the words gently tumbled around my head.
I was able to
recite it from memory (until I started crying) at Vito's Memorial
service on Halloween that year. I printed up and passed out
postcards with this photo I took of Vito dancing on Melrose Ave.
side, and my heartfelt missive on the other.
I was looking for something unrelated in my filing cabinet last night, and one of those printed postcards I made back then revealed
itself. I typed the text into the computer to post it here. It'll end
up on my site's library page, and maybe I'll make a little movie of
myself reading it, too!
The Final Bow
The life of my greatest fan was the ideal scenario available to
exiting members of the human race. 78 strong years of unstoppable
vitality and verve! The will to LIVE! The talent to create happiness
and nurture harmony! A liberator of creative spirits to fly...
This life wants to go on dancing- what further proof is needed to
verify the preciousness of the GIFT of LIFE
One catch- the gift must always be returned. Life's organic
chemistry equation is an Indian Giver. New life springs from recycled
To have a fun life, and just quietly fade away (quickly, for grace
and ease) is the epitome of fantasy scripts. My greatest fan's exit
contains little conflict- mostly monologues of self-reflection,
fullfillment, and poignant first-hand observations of his physical
Solo in the spotlight, he is complacent, lucid, and serene to the
What about that last movement! THAT gesture to really take the cake,
and draw the curtains on the STAR, my greatest fan?
Mission of Mercy?
Act III, the FINALE.
With Love, please exit the theater laughing,
and have a groo- vy Life.
©1992 Leslie Michel