Monday, July 31, 2006


My friend Paul called this morning. Paul says he’s a dead man walking, and he’s right. He should have died 8 or 9 years ago when he was diagnosed with Stage 4 non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Well, I guess if he shoulda died we woulda died so let’s just say he has defied the odds. Thing is, those odds are put in place by others, so I’m not sure he has defied his own odds. In his world he has lived, that’s all, stayed alive.

Paul rejects labels. Which is appropriate since he is impossible to describe. Even so I’ll put some labels on the guy – for y’all whose minds reject unlabeled things. He’s a wild man. He’s an artist and poet. He was a druggie. He was born in Scotland. He was a devoted husband to Debbie. Her cancer came after Paul’s. It was very aggressive and she died last year. Paul basically forgot about his illness and cared for her full-time during her last years.

I thought when Debbie died Paul would follow soon after. You know, give up. Say fuck it, I’ve had enough. I’ve known him for almost 30 years and should have known better. Quite the contrary, his commitment to living and further demonstrating that his life matters grew stronger.

Over the years Sandra has heard me talk with Paul on the phone. She is shocked that I tell him I figured he’s still alive because I haven’t seen his obituary in the Atlanta Constitution. (Which was true by the way; I would go online and look when I didn’t hear from him in a while.) Our talk about death and dying, while macabre to some, is just our way of being straight with each other. Why pussy foot around the truth?

I have many of Paul’s paintings on my walls, so he’s never far away. He’s still recovering from a recent near-death hospital stay, so he’s not strong enough to paint at the moment. But he is strong enough to write, which he’s been doing. I tell him I don’t understand his poetry. He tells me it is not to be understood; it is to be felt or gotten. I do feel it and get it. Check it out at:

I’m happy to share my friend Paul with you. He’s a special man who I dearly love.


Blogger michael connor said...

Dan, great blog entry. Very moving. I'm a friend of Paul's and a fan of the book you wrote 'Look with the Heart' I believe it was. Keep blogging big guy!

1:39 PM  

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