Monday, December 29, 2014


Your mom and I have started a new tradition, little sweetheart. We go into SF on the Sunday after Christmas and have a day out that I’m going to tell you about now.

There’s a place in Nob Hill that my own mother used to talk about. It’s the restaurant on the highest floor of the Mark Hopkins Hotel – The Top of the Mark. It’s a totally gorgeous spot with big windows all the way round, offering a panoramic view of the city from its vantage point high above the intersection of California and Mason. By night, it’s an upscale music venue, a bit like the Rainbow Room here in New York, I guess. My mom went there with my dad, from what I understand, when we were little and when she heard that I was coming out to San Francisco to work at The Magic (when you and I met, my love), she told me that that was something I absolutely had to do – go to the Top of the Mark. She must’ve told me that a dozen times.

At some point, just a couple years ago, I mentioned this to your mom. And it turns out that she and your dad had gone there, too. She even remembered that they went to see Judy Collins perform.

Anyway, last year when I came out to see your folks at Christmas, your Mom told me that she had learned that on Sundays they have a champagne brunch at The Top of the Mark. And she made a reservation for the two of us (your dad was working). You wouldn’t believe the spread they have! It’s an enormous buffet in the middle of the room, a sort of raised platform that, now that I think of it, is probably the stage, the tables all around the periphery and against the windows that surround the beautiful space. There’s even a pianist softly tinkling away and singing standards. The food is amazing, pretty much everything you can imagine from eggs benedict to fish and foul and French toast, to yogurt parfaits and fresh fruit, bagels and lox, even desserts. And there’s a chef or two on hand ready to slice a nice cut of meat for you and another to whip up any variety of omelet you might like, and, your favorite – waffles! You just pick up a plate and go back as many times as you like, trying a little (or a lot!) of everything. And when you come back to your table, the breathtaking vistas surrounding you, the very nice waiters are filling up your coffee again and/or your glass of champagne (none for me this year because I’m sober again but last year, several glasses.)

It’s just lovely. And that has become a new tradition, my sweetheart. But there’s also a second part to it. One we didn’t plan last year when we set off for your old stomping grounds but something we simply came across before getting back in the car and liked so much we did again this year.

After brunch, we came back down into the lobby of the hotel, looking at the huge beautiful Christmas tree there and then wandered out into the fresh air. A beautiful Northern California day, it seemed like we should at least walk around for a bit before driving back, so we did and we came across Grace Cathedral.

It’s a beautiful and historic gothic structure, full of inspiring art and architecture and extremely welcoming. There are so many wonderful things to tell you about this place, my sweetheart. All around the far walls are paintings of historic scenes in the life of the church and the city. On the floor, as you first enter, is a big labyrinth, a kind of prayer path based on a French monastic tradition, that people are invited to walk and quietly meditate on. The vaulted ceilings and stain glass throw the most beautiful light and shadows everywhere and there are dozens of little alcoves and nooks where one might say or write down a little prayer (as I did for you, for us) or sit quietly in thought. There’s a beautiful pipe organ and in addition to the regular schedule of services, there are any number of musical events planned – there’s almost always music in the chapel or main altar/space. That first time your mom and I visited, just as we were about to leave, a woman was coming through wheeling an enormous harp for a recital later that night. And one of the most striking things about the cathedral that day was an art installation we had the good fortune to come across at the end of its public showing.

Grace Cathedral actually has an annual “Artist in Residence”. How cool is that? The display was/is called Graced With Light – The Ribbon Project and it features hundreds if not thousands of ribbons hanging from the top of the high ceiling, streaming down to just overhead. The artist’s name is Anne Patterson (she lives in New York and I’ve recently been in touch with her, my love) and her vision was to create “a series of light pathways, connecting heaven and earth, manifest as ribbons. The ribbons carry our prayers, dreams and wishes skyward, and, in turn grace streams down the ribbons to us…” They’re all different colors, little sweetheart. She started by hand-assembling the blue ones and hanging them in March 2013. In May and June, hundreds of community members wrote their prayers and hopes and wishes on red ribbons and then in July, she hung those alongside. In October, she added the white ones along with a video projection in collaboration with another artist, Adam Larsen.

Your mom and I just walked around in thrall to its beauty. And the beauty of the idea that people had written their prayers on the ribbons sending them skyward. We read that the installation was only up for another two days so imagine our surprise and delight when, continuing our tradition, we came back this year after post-Christmas brunch at the Top of the Mark to find the beautiful ribbons still hanging!

And that wasn’t all. They added a beautiful Christmas tree in another part of the sanctuary, near the entrance, that looked to be decorated with small white paper birds, but when observed up close were actually hand-written prayers people had penned on white paper and folded into the little bird shapes. Nearby was a table with paper and markers, so I took one up and wrote our prayer on it, my darling, and placed it in the tree with the others.

After that we walked around a bit. There was a young man playing classical guitar near the altar and your mom thought it might be nice to sit up front and listen to him. So, we did for quite a while. Finally, his dad (at least we think it was his dad) came and collected him and we were about to go ourselves, when a nice man in robes invited us to stay for the service. He said if we liked, we could come up and “sit in the choir”. We were down in pews, sort of down front, but he was inviting people to come up much closer – it’s a big church! We were a bit shy and not entirely sure what to do but your Mom was game and me, too – I really wanted to stay.

When we got up close and took a seat in the rows way up by the altar facing in and I got a look at the little program or order of service handbill they gave us, I noticed that where we were sitting, where we’d been invited is called the “quire”. So, it sounds like the word choir and one could even imagine a choir being seated there, but it’s a totally different name. I liked that. Don’t you, my gorgeous girl?

The service was lovely, sweetheart. And everyone was so nice and friendly and I really think your mom enjoyed being there. She kinda didn’t want to leave. Me, either. We sang Angels We Have Heard on High (did I ever tell you that when I was a little boy I thought the part where they go “Glor-o-o-o-o-o, o-o-o-o, o-o-o-o- ria” was “Beau- oh-oh-oh-oh… regard”? I think I’d been watching too many Foghorn Leghorn cartoons…) and we turned and shook hands with everyone, saying “hi” and “peace be with you” when the Passing of the Peace came round. And there was a wonderful quartet of musicians, sweetheart – trumpet, clarinet, piano and a little harmonium! Your mom asked me what that harmonium was. I don’t think I’d ever seen somebody play one before. And the second hymn was that one I like so much from Nine Lessons and Carols – the opening one – Once in Royal David City. I leaned over when I saw it in the program and told your mom, “this is a great song!” and she looked at me and smiled a smile very much like one of your surprised smiles and said “really?” just about exactly the way your little nephew says it. “Really?”

There wasn’t a sermon or anything, just a blessing, which was really nice. And I said our prayer, sweetheart. And then at the end we all sang Go Tell It on The Mountain. I think your mom liked that one best. I always think of it as very closely aligned with the 60’s and Civil Rights – sort of a companion to We Shall Overcome. Ya know?

And, like I said, afterward, we really kind of dawdled. Kinda weren’t in a hurry to get back. It was such a lovely day, full of thoughts and prayers and music… and you, my little sweetheart. I just know it. I could feel you near me. And I know if I just do right, let all the noise around me go, be quiet and get to that deepest place inside me, I will always find you near. And soon, so very soon I pray, I will find you, you will collect me, and we will be together forever in Love and The Beautiful New Place.

Thank you, my sweetheart. I love you, Summer. With all my heart and soul I do. Always be with me. In everything that I do. Don’t go too far away, right, little sweetheart? Love you forever, my love…. 

Friday, December 26, 2014

Into the Woods...

I'm with your parents, my sweetheart, and it's the day after Christmas. Tonight we went to see the film adaptation of the musical Into the Woods. I've never seen the play before but your mom told me it was the first play you were ever in - playing Little Red at the age of 10 - and that they have a video of it I can watch in Davis. Anyway, we went to the movie tonight and I was really loving it. And near the end there's a song, it's a medley with most of the characters called "Finale" and there's a part where the Baker's wife, who has died, comes to him and sings:

"Sometimes people leave you
Halfway through the wood.
Do not let it grieve you,
No one leaves for good.
You are not alone.
No one is alone."

I gasped when I heard those words, those first two lines, my little sweetheart. I gasped out loud sitting there in the dark of the cinema and began to cry and your father reached over and patted me on the shoulder. And my darling, I know you are with me. Always with me. Love you forever...

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Best Coast...

Sweetheart, when I drove up to Cape Cod in a panic over the artwork for Of Love and Loss and Sean got it all sorted out for me, he gave me a mixtape that had this song on it. It's the first time I ever heard Best Coast. I think you would so love them. It sure does make me think of you. It sure does make me cry for you. I wanna see you. I wanna see you. I wanna see you. I wanna see you. Forever and ever. For ever and ever. For ever and ever. Forever.

Two Boxes

Sweetheart, your mom sent me two packages today, just before Christmas, just before I’m headed out there. And everything inside and about them is all, all, all just wonderful and amazing and so very thoughtful. The boxes were numbered one and two and I was instructed to open number one first because inside was a card and note explaining things. On the front of the card is a beautiful angel, just like you. The note tells me about care of the item within the box – your pretty black sunhat. Your mom has attached a lovely gold seahorse pin to it. Saying that she thinks it is something you might do yourself, one of your “tricks” as you might say. I find myself gasping and weeping at the sight of it. She’s tucked a bit of wrapping paper into the crown so that it stays upright and full and the instructions are about how I should keep that inside the hat should I decide to hang it (she’s also included a lovely wall hook for just that purpose. I stand in the kitchen with your beautiful hat in my arms looking around a bit lost, not knowing where might be a good home for it. Finally, still sobbing, I settle on placing it quietly for now on the bed next to your place that I never turn down, next to and then, thinking, atop the pillow where your famous purple shirt lay as well, before coming back into the kitchen where the boxes sit on the floor. I keep unpacking the first one, finding the hook the note mentioned, thinking I probably won't hang the hat because I may not have the proper tools, only to find the next thing thoughtfully included in the box are the proper tools – a multiple bit screwdriver - also carefully, thoughtfully gift wrapped. I set them aside together and open box two. Your mom has included swiffers on top (Needed! This place is awash in dust, brick dust, plaster dust, every kind of dust from 10 months of destruction/construction in the "posh" new parts of the building). Next, the wonderful owl sachets. Everything in this box that I touch smells lovely. An infusion of the most intoxicatingly beautiful aromas float into the air – your kind of cotton candy scent. You are everywhere, my sweetheart. Next, I spot what seems by its shape to be a glasses case. I wonder if it's the second pair of Ray Bans I'd sent your Dad (he thought he lost the first pair I got him for Father’s Day so I replaced them but a few weeks later the first pair turned up…) rendered redundant. I open it and am in tears again – they’re the sunglasses with hearts all over the frames that I bought you on Valentines on our trip up to Lake Tahoe, the weekend “We Went to the Snow”. Oh, my sweetheart. Oh, my love! The rest of the box is filled with four lush, lovely folded bath towels with the “S” Serafin monogram from the house in Davis, smelling wonderful and fresh. They come in handy immediately still awash in tears for you. It's all all all so indescribably lovely and thoughtful. I immediately call your mom to thank her so very much. And I know you’re with me, holding my hand, stroking my chest and telling me that I am your treasure. And I know I need never ashamed to cry for you. Knowing, my love, that you are even nearer by than I can readily imagine. Until that day. Until that day...xxxxoooo

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

On the air - NOW!

Holy cow, little sweetheart! Irene Trudel played our opening track "It's Christmas, Sweetheart" in her first set between The Byrds and Big Star! Should be up on the WFMU archive later tonight. Thank you, Ms T! Hey, sweetheart, you're on the radio... xM

In and On the Air

Little Sweetheart, we're going to be on the radio tonight. The great Irene Trudel is playing one of the tracks from the new Christmas record on her show on WFMU tonight. 91.1 FM in the Greater NYC area and streaming/archived at You're not only in the air, my darling, you're about to be on the air. And me with you! Love you forever....

Sunday, December 14, 2014

More from the baking aisle...

As I set out all the supplies for our molasses-ginger Christmas cookies the other day, my sweetheart, I discovered I was missing a key ingredient - the ginger! So, I headed over to D'Agostino's to grab some from the spice aisle. But as I stood there looking for the usual, familiar little bottle of McCormick's, I couldn't find one. I did, out of the corner of my left eye, see a rather upscale bottle in the adjoining display of high end gourmet spices, but ever-thrifty, I kept on perusing the entire collection of the economical brands. Finally, giving up, I turned to the gourmet side and took the bottle there in my hand. I looked for the price. I looked to see where it was listed. I looked to see if there was another bottle among them. There wasn't. Among the collection of every conceivable spice and seasoning, there wasn't even one more bottle of ground ginger there. Nor was there a placard for where there should be. I looked more closely at the label.  The bottle was heavy, thick glass with a pretty red top.  The print read  "Ground Ginger. Morton & Bassett. San Francisco." Of course. Of course. And the only one there. Hi, sweetheart. Thank you, my love. I'm saving an angel and a star for you...

Monday, December 8, 2014

It's Christmas, Sweetheart... (lyrics)

In dreams I weep to wake from
Because I'm bound to you
Oh, thank god for the day
I was ever found by you
The snow was falling
And so did I
So sweet and kind and true
It made me cry
To ever have to say goodbye

It's Christmas, Sweetheart

I can feel your footstep on the stair
Smell your ginger sweetness in the air
And I know you're everywhere

It's Christmas, Sweetheart

I can feel your footstep on the stair
All I want is just for you
To take me with you there

In dreams I weep to wake from
Because I'm bound to you
Oh, thank god for the day
I was ever found by you
So I'll remember, darling
What you said
About a life of love, so better led

It's Christmas, Sweetheart

Michael: Happy Christmas, Summer.
Summer: I can't wait until you're here!

c.p. 2014 Michael Louis Serafin-Wells, Thirteen November Music (ASCAP)

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Hear an angel...

Oh, sweetheart... I'm at D'Agostino's getting a few things to make Xmas cookies before practice tomorrow and one of our favorite songs just came on- The Cure's "Friday, I'm in Love". I remember walking through Trader Joe's together and watching you break into one of your gorgeous, earth-shattering smiles, pointing to the speaker as you heard it come on there, taking my hand. Here I stand in the baking aisle in tears. Never be ashamed to cry for you. My love. My little sweetheart. My very best friend.  Love you forever...

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

"It's Christmas, Sweetheart"...

Yesterday, sweetheart, we released the holiday EP, BPXmas. You're on it, of course, and the first song is one I wrote for and about you, my love. It's also on SoundCloud (below). Ground Control Magazine's Daryl Darko Barnett interviewed me for his review of it and here's what I said. 

"...I had the little riff and the jangly kinda chorus playing my Tele through a short delay and I was trying to find the words. I kept singing “It’s Christmas” and then the next line sorta wordlessly, just looking for the sound of it, over and over, until it just came out: “sweetheart”. I really feel that Summer gave that to me. Like she was sitting here looking over my shoulder while I played and just whispered the word into my ear because I could barely sing it for crying the first several times it came out of my mouth... 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

On Thanksgiving...

I'm thinking of you on this cold and snowy Thanksgiving Day in NYC, my sweetheart. On my own. With Christmas coming. The holidays are filled with memories and longing too. I am glad and grateful that I got to spend some of the very best ones with you, my love. Still, I miss you terribly. Someone asked me lately if I had experiences that made me feel you are near me and I told the story about the watch. The watch I had that my mom gave me (and who died just 10 months before you, my darling girl.) Remember how I was wearing it when I was in California with you after Valentines Day and the wristband broke, so I threw it into my laptop bag? And there it sat, forgotten amidst the tragic events.  Months later, I came across it, looking for something else and it had stopped because it's self-winding - you have to be wearing it and moving around for it to work. I put it on the mantel behind a bunch of framed pictures of you. And one day sitting on the sofa beneath it, inconsolable, I heard it begin quietly ticking. And it's happened since. Sometimes when it's quiet or I'm terribly sad, I have heard it simply start up. I told that story to the person who asked - a friend. You know him too, my sweetheart. And he said he thinks our loved ones, our beloved, like you, are definitely around. "Oh, they're still here," he said, "and, actually, not that far away". I like that idea. Always be with me, Summer. Don't go too far away. With all my love... m

Thursday, November 13, 2014

You Are...

On the occasion of her 35th birthday, Bipolar Explorer play "You Are" for their fallen bandmate, Michael's love and partner, Summer Serafin, live at their studio in New York City. This song is the opening track on their forthcoming EP, Angels and is, as ever, dedicated, indeed of, for and about her. Summer Lindsay Serafin (November 13, 1979-March 18, 2011). With love forever.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Monday, October 27, 2014

In Dreams (con't)...

I was up so early this morning, my sweetheart, and through the day, stamping about the city - a thousand tasks (mostly) cheerfully performed - and carrying you, as always, with me. Finally at home in the early evening, I had to lie down, just as you were wont to do (oh, just to have a nap with you again! Waking disoriented, wrapped up in each other, entwined...), NPR on low in the background. I couldn't have been out for long. Maybe 20 minutes. But I dreamt of you. And I was so very sad to wake without you beside me. Again. Each time is much like the first - impossible. Yet, my darling, photos of you, much like your constant if invisible presence, surrounded me. And as I looked up from the bed, one of them - this one of you I took as you leaned on the kitchen island counter at the house in Davis just before Christmas - seemed to glow. You were glowing, a celestial illumination, my angel, my true love, my little sweetheart, haloed as I lay there, my heart aching and longing for you. Remember, my sweetheart, how whenever you would begin to stir - it didn't even have to be to another room, even just slightly shifting your weight to one side - that I would say "don't go too far away"? Don't go too far away, Summer. Don't go too far away, my love. My sweetheart, always be with me...

Saturday, October 25, 2014

"Sound Out..."

Heard that our friend Johnny Donovan passed away two days ago. He was one of the people we got to know over the years in our travels to Kilcrohane in West Cork. That's him there third from the right, at Eileen's (aka Fitzpatrick's) pub in the village. There were several years where we made multiple, wonderful visits to Kilcrohane, even spending three Christmases there. When Summer & met, I told her about some of these Irish adventures and she wanted me to take her, too. Thank god we made that trip. She got to meet everyone, and Johnny, of course, who had us over for tea (aka: whiskey and biscuits) before we adjourned to Eileen's, as seen here. We had plans, Summer and I, to meet up again with Kris and Joy (also pictured) that next spring and make another trip there in time for Johnny's b'day (I think it was to have been his 69th) but sadly... sadly... Anyway, I'm so glad you got to meet him, sweetheart. Turns out you get to see him sooner than the rest of us. Bless you both. And as Johnny used to say on his way out the door well after last call, "sound out". Sound out, Johnny Donovan. Sound out, my friend. See ya soon...

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

In the stars...

I saw this quote today, my sweetheart, and thought of you, of us. How you liked to say that you found me. And how grateful I am that you did. How I know and believe and have faith that you will come for me in my sleep, take my hand and lead me to the Beautiful New Place to be with you forever. This little quote evokes, reinforces that:
Do you think the universe fights for souls to be together?
Some things are too strange and strong to be coincidences.


Saturday, October 4, 2014

The Heart Knows (Its Home)

There’s a beautiful picture of you, my darling, I think it’s always been there, in the window looking out to the garden in the house at Davis. You’re a little girl, perhaps twelve, wearing a pretty reddish pink polka dot dress and holding a kitten in your arms, a slender red watch on your little left wrist. I have gazed at this photo – like others – so many many times, boring my eyes into yours, willing my soul to leave my body and inhabit the place with you where you now reside. When last I looked upon it, I was with your mom. It was the last day of my visit and your dad was taking me to SMF in a few hours. As I sat there at the indoor patio table gazing at the little girl you, I asked your mom about it. How old were you, exactly? What was that little watch you were wearing? Which of the collection of famous family cats was in your sweet little arms? Your mother told, my sweetheart, that you were about twelve (as I say), that she had just picked you up from your ballet class, that the watch was one of a pair of them that both she and you used to wear out together. She told me the name of the kitty, too. I’ll have to ask again. It’s slipped my mind because of what happened next. She left the room and came back a moment later with the very same pretty little dress you were wearing in the picture and put it down on the table by me. I burst into tears that grew into great, heaving sobs of hyperventilation. I sat there, my love, lightly touching your little dress, my heart aching and soaring and longing to be near its home – you. And I’ve felt this way from the first - I know you know – so overwhelmed by the beauty and rightness and true compass of your spirit that my very being trembles and quakes to have been found by you. For it is you, Summer. It is you, my love, that I was born for. Whatever life has left for me is a just an unwinding until I am returned to you. My heart knew it from the first. And as I sat there falling apart I was reassured – it is you, my love. My True One. My little sweetheart. It is you.

Time Travel, pt 1

For the longest time, little sweetheart, I've come across random works of art and memorabilia that bear uncanny, wonderful resemblance to you. Not unlike the way you come to me in dreams, these images bring my conscious self to you with a hint, a glimpse, a clue, that you are eternal. That we are. That I will be again with you soon and forever. And in a way most wonderful that my mortal mind cannot yet begin to grasp, only take in these little fragments, these slivers of what will be, what always was, and to give me hope and faith to persevere until that day, that blessed day you come for me. It's a rainy Saturday where I am, my love. Lonely and grey. My every thought, my heart and soul yearn for you so. And I will love you forever because it was ever thus. My True Love, my little best friend, my sweetheart, my gorgeous girl. Until that day! Until that day...

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


Something was in my head all day, sweetheart, and as I was crossing Central Park over by the Delacorte, I had to sit down on a bench by the ballfields there and write this down:

I heard a snippet of a song last night watching the Giants game, a tune I wasn't familiar with, but so compelling that I did a quick Google search to investigate. Turns out it's by Loudon Wainwright III. Do you know him? Sorta a 70's folk singer. Father of Martha and Rufus Wainwright, both singers in their own right. The tune starts out as something of an acoustic ballad that progressively gets more country-rock ala the Gram Parsons era of the Byrds crossed with a lead electric riff reminiscent of what Ringo famously described as Harrison's "slide-ish" guitar. It's not, of course, George on the record, but clearly the session player has listened to All Things Must Pass in its entirety more than once.

Anyway, this song now stuck in my head is called "Daughter" and it moved me to tears repeatedly, even in its current deployment as background music in a Walmart commerical (gah). I think you'll understand this, my love. I know we've spoken of it. I loved you even before I was in love with you. Your beautiful spirit. Your beautiful soul. You stirred something ancient and eternal and true in me that my heart instantly recognized across the eons and it's why I know even though we're on different planes just now with your passing, that we will be together again and forever when I too pass because it was ever thus.

When Curt died, a friend of mine gave me a phone number of a guy out on Long Island who was something of a psychic. She wrote it down on a tiny post-it, a blue one, that I stuck to a wooden box in the kitchen before it promptly disappeared. One day I found it and actually called and made an appointment. You had to schedule months and months in advance and I mean to sometime tell you the entire story of the rainy, tempestuous day I took the train out there and saw him. But for now there's just one thing I want to report in its relevance to this story, this feeling I have.

He told me that the people we best love, the dearest, like you my love, we have known forever, in many incarnations. Without his knowing anything about you or I or our adventures in the arts, he described this phenomenon with the analogy of the theatre. He said that with our dear ones it is as if we were a small company of players and that when one of us pass, it is simply as if they have exited the stage and gone to the dressing room where we will find them at the end of our own performance. That sometimes we are lovers, other times brother and sister or father and child. But that we are eternal. A kind of small cosmic rep company, together forever.

And I had never heard this idea before, my darling. It seems so right somehow. Because before I ever fell madly in romantic love with you, my beautiful lover, I loved you like that. And still do. I love you in every way. And I can be stirred to any part of that even with something as mundane as a formerly obscure song from the 70's now in service of an infamous union-busting corporate department store. Of course you are not my daughter, you are my partner and True Love. But maybe one of the life works in our rep schedule has something like those roles on Saturday matinee. Because I can feel it so keenly when old Loudon sings the elongated single word "Ev-ery-thing" that begins each verse before joining it up with something paternal to complete it like - "everything... she sees, she wants" or "everything...I say, she takes to heart." The chorus rhymes "that's my daughter/in the water", continuing, variously, "everything she owns/I bought her" or "who'd have ever thought her?".
There's one other but it's too sad to say just now.

I think this would not exactly be your favorite song, my sweetheart. It's a far cry from your beloved Goldfrapp or our DCFC or Bon Iver or The National. But I also know that you would look beyond the surface, I know that you would look into my tear-flooded eyes and know how very deeply I love and miss you, how you cleft my heart in twain and that with the great compassion and understanding and love - the great love of my life - you would take me in your arms and quiet me and repeat, as you did when you were here, that will love me forever as I do you. "I promise, " you said. "I promise". And I believe you, my little sweetheart. I believe.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

All That You Taught Me, My Sweetheart...

My sweetheart, I've been meaning to post this for a while. Back in May, I heard from the daughter of an old friend of mine that she was about to graduate from High School. I sent her a small gift and this letter in which I try to relate as best I can the very important things that you, my true love, taught me: 

May 28, 2014

Thank you so much for sending me the announcement about your graduating high school. That’s terrific news and a fine achievement. Congratulations!

I know your parents are very proud of you. I know they always are. I grew up with your dad and met your mom shortly thereafter when we were all twenty-somethings in DC. I’ll do my best here not to say anything embarrassing about them and I think I’m on firm ground in simply saying that they could hardly wait until you and your brother came into the world. Your mother in particular was over the moon at the thought of your arrival. And even though, strangely (the world is strange), you and I have never met, I’ve seen little glimpses of your growing up through the years of family Christmas cards and in the eyes of your parents, full of love and pride for you.

I won’t go on too long here. I just want to say something I hope might be of nominal resonance on this occasion. Grown ups are always fumbling for a word of wisdom to pass along, never more so than on a day like today. Please forgive us. We mean well. When your dad and I graduated, I remember, we were rather underwhelmed by these same sort of remarks. It was a hot day and the event was held on the football field. I think more than a few us had nothing but our swim trunks on beneath our cap and gowns, keen to get the whole thing over with, have a dip in a neighbors pool and drink a million underage beers. The commencement speaker was the local Circuit Court judge and I think we actually thought he might not be too bad but something got lost on the way to podium and he didn’t exactly inspire. At a key point in his speech, he challenged us to “remember two words”. Mingo Guana, our classmate and all-around not-so-wiseass, shouted out “Guilty!”, to general laughter and uproar. It was stupid as hell -the judge did say “two words”, after all- and somehow perfect.  Judge Whatshisname wrapped things up- his two words were “thank you”, remember to say “thank you” as you go through your life (a perfectly good directive, not terribly stirring, maybe, but…) – caps flew in the air (except for our friend Kris – you may have met him – who tore off his gown and tossed that instead) and everyone went on their way, merry or otherwise.

I hope your own Commencement comes off a bit better. I suppose you could do worse. But I hope. So, I’ll wrap up my own remarks here and let you get on with it, right after this brief, humble effort to improve on what an earlier generation tried to foist upon your dad and I.

Boneheaded bonhomie notwithstanding, Mingo was almost right – we should be able to get it down to one word. And I have one in mind. It’s “love”.

Love. Let it be your guide. Find what you love and build your life around it. Do the thing, the things, that make you happy. Do what you love. Find love. Give love. Live in love. Live for love. Hold those you love to you with all your might. In Shakespeare’s words, “grasp them to you with hoops of steel”. As our lives unfold, we find ourselves met with enormous challenges, difficulties, sometimes far more than we think we could ever bear.  Moments of great giddy joy comingled with heartaches and disappointments. Mistakes we may have a hard time ever forgiving ourselves for. But whatever may, I promise you, Grace, the one thing none of us will ever regret is having loved too much. Or too often. Or with too open of a heart. Love. Deep into my life now, there are few things I can say I know with certainty. But for this: we are here to love.

Congratulations to you, dear friend. May good fortune attend your every endeavor. With love…


Michael Louis Serafin-Wells
New York City

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Carry it with me...

Back in NYC, my little sweetheart. It's the day after Labor Day. There's work to do and I will endeavor to do my best. I carry you with me, just like you told me. And one day, one day soon, I fervently hope, I will join you where you are. I love you forever.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Just to hold on

Wherever we were, my sweetheart - at home or visiting somewhere or in a hotel together -you always seemed to make your side of the bed nearest to a clear path in case you needed to get up in the night. Except at our apartment in NYC, where you slept closest to the wall. And I liked that because it meant you had to try to quietly crawl over me on your way out and then I could catch you up in a full body embrace, my arms and legs entangling you and holding you close and tight. And never letting go. Never ever letting you go...

Thursday, August 14, 2014

For Summer

Collected Plays comes out in print today, my little sweetheart. And it is, like every breath and moment and act of my life, for you. For you, my darling. For you, my love. For you, Summer. For you.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

A Story with My Partner

Some of the best moments of my life were with Summer in my arms, her sweet head on my shoulder as we sat on the plaid couch here at my hovel or the big plush sofa in Davis or on her crimson colored bed in The Sunset, watching a movie. My sweetheart told me that it was important. That she liked to end the day watching a story with her partner. It filled me with such joy and pride when she told me that. Few things ever made me that happy. Sitting together, giving her a foot massage. Wrapping her in a blanket. How she would look at me, those eyes of love -oh, my heart. Holding her sweet little hand. In Davis, we’d hit the Blockbuster on the way back from The Nugget Market, picking up a selection or two. In The Sunset there was a great place called Le Video. I still have my membership card. At Christmas, Summer’s mom had one gift specially marked for Summer & I to share. It was a box set of the first two seasons of a show we’d been looking forward to. The gift came with explicit instructions that Summer & I were to watch it together. That made me very happy. Here in New York, Summer & I frequented the wonderful, iconic Alan’s Alley at W.22nd and 9th Ave. We checked out the whole of Brideshead Revisited. And Jewel in the Crown. And many many more. It was our go-to, that lovely little place with thousands of titles. On a long walk today back up from way downtown, I happened past and it was gone. A “For Lease” sign from some fucking developer in its papered-over windows. I was heartbroken. But I just looked them up online. Yeah, some thoughtless money-grubbing landlords ousted them – perhaps the last video store in the city. But they’ve found a new smaller space, still in Chelsea, on 25th St. From the pictures it almost seems like they’re working out of an apartment. Cool. Punkrock. Returns, a notice on the website says, can be left afterhours at the Rail Line (formerly Moonstruck) diner, across the street from the old location. They gather them in a bag and Alan picks them up in the morning. They’re back. I haven’t been yet, but I’m going. I can feel my Summer smiling. God bless. God bless…

Saturday, August 9, 2014

My darling girl...

Love you with all my heart and soul, my little sweetheart. Going to bed now to dream of the day you take my hand and lead me to The Beautiful New Place to be with you forever. I love you, Summer. I love you, my darling girl.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Nights and Days...

Nights were, for the first many months, the hardest for me to get through, my little sweetheart. It probably didn’t help that I started drinking again in those early days. And hadn’t you told me, my love, that I should never do that when I was lonely or sad or upset? So, I stopped again, my darling. In fits and starts at the New Year but on a clear path and righted course by the early days of February, so nearly six months now. And I’m getting to sleep better. I’m getting to sleep better, too, because I always talk to you, my love, as I take to our bed. I lay down quietly on my side and hold on to the open sleeve of your little purple shirt, taking it in my hand where it lay on top of your pillow and I talk to you. Take inventory of the day. Tell you how much I love you. Say a little prayer that you are kept safe and that I may meet you in the New Place come morning. Come soon. The nights are a little easier for that, now. It’s the dawn that has become so hard. Each morning waking is as heartbreaking as the first, with the terrible realization, coming out of the dream state, that you are not physically on this dark planet, not in body by my side. That in that way, I am all alone. Terribly lonely and alone. It hurts so much every time I wake that I can scarcely draw breath. But I say our prayer again and kiss your pictures and put on my necklace and say good morning to your beautiful spirit and make myself rise, make coffee, fill the daylight hours with a thousand little chores and tasks and projects to temper the horrible sting and muddle through until evening falls and I may lay me down and whisper again to you until I fall asleep. Dreaming of you and the Beautiful New Place. Hoping to wake there at last with you instead of this lonely world without you. How I pray to be delivered to you, my love. How I wish with all my heart and soul for that day. For you, my little sweetheart. For that day I join you, my love. Oh, Summer. My gorgeous girl. For that day… 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Every everything

I sometimes remember something about you or something that you told me or something that we did or any kind of anything, some little detail, my little sweetheart and it so delights me. But then also it makes me terribly sad, even angry at myself that it could've alluded memory long enough to actually be "remembered". But then maybe that's okay because it's all inside me, isn't it darling? All of you, everywhere we've been, everywhere we will go. I hold it all inside me. Just sometimes one piece or another of it comes a bit forward to say "hello". Isn't that right, sweetheart? And do you know what one came to me that made me think all of this, my gorgeous girl? It was your teasing me about being such a "brooder". Your texting me sometimes to say that you were thinking of me and sending love to me "(your) brooding partner". God, how I love you, Summer. Thank you for every visitation. I feel you with me and my heart is full. Thank you my little sweetheart, my little best friend, my every everything.

Monday, July 7, 2014


Summer was unafraid. The bravest person I've ever known. And she wanted to know. She wanted to know what had made me so sad. She wanted to know what had happened in my life and what was inside of me that made me feel that way. And she would hold me and she would stroke the well of my chest and she would calm me and she would call me her treasure. Like a mantra, she would whisper it lovingly again and again in my ear and soothe me. "My treasure", she would say, "my treasure..."

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Most Beautiful Sound...

The sound of Summer calling from another room, her pretty voice trilling up in the inflection of a question, "Michael...?" My instantaneous and always response "Yes, my sweetheart?" as I come running. "Are there any more of those little yogurts left?", I think I hear her ask. Missing and loving you forever...

Thursday, June 12, 2014

At the Edge of the Other World...

It’s meant to get sweltery and into the 80’s this weekend but the last few days have been terrifically mild. Cloud cover and temps in the 60’s to low-70’s. Some might call it grey, overcast. But I love it. It’s gentle. “Soft weather” as they say in Ireland. Perfect for running. Occasional light rain. Even a touch of fog as I pad along the paths near The Hudson. And it’s put me in mind of a film I saw some time ago.

Tree of Life is a difficult watch for a number of reasons. My primary one is the relentless brutality of Brad Pitt’s character. Others might howl with boredom and impatience at the film’s 20 minute opening sequence (not unlike Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey) as the beginnings of life on Earth are chronicled at the most leisurely of paces. But despite all that, its ending is among the most haunting and beautiful ever committed to celluloid – a fog-drenched beach where we walk along water’s edge joining every one of our lost dear ones in youthful, harmonious, joyful eternity. I have not been able to get this image out of my head for the last several days and have begun day dreaming of somehow vanishing into one of those clouds of fog I routinely spot in the middle distance as I run north toward the bridge hoping it will envelope and deliver me to that other world, that Beautiful New Place I yearn for, and find you, Little Sweetheart, find you, my love...

Every everything...

Every song, every word, every thought I sing or speak or write is a prayer, is a love letter to you, my little sweetheart, until my dying breath, when you take my hand in yours again at last and lead me to where you are. Love you forever.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day...

Memorial Day... and remembering how on a bright day like this that Summer would don one of her enormous black sunhats, all but disappearing beneath its protective shade, and how I would peak under for a visit to kiss her sweet pretty little smiling face. Love you forever, little sweetheart.

Thursday, May 15, 2014


I love you too my little sweetheart. Love you forever. Every night I close my eyes with thoughts and prayers of waking to find myself with you again and forever in The Beautiful New Place.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day...

Thinking not just of my mom but of you today, Summer, my little sweetheart because you wanted to raise a child with me and be a mommy yourself. In another life, in another place, I know we will. Meantime, know that I will be with you soon and that I love you forever and with all my heart and soul.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Forever Twinned...

April 25. This day, like perhaps all, will forever be twinned with Summer, my little sweetheart. In 2009, we retreated to the house in Davis where she made some incredibly complicated and delicious b'day cupcakes and then took me to see DCFC in Sacramento. Three years ago on this day, we had plans to be here in NYC together working on "My Before and After" and then hopping into a rental car to catch Low in Philadelphia. Instead, I found myself speaking at her memorial. The words below are as keenly felt today as the hour they were given. My friend Kim told me, however sad, she thought it was perfect that Summer's memorial was held on my b'day. Forever twinned, my darling. Forever twinned, my love. Until that day. Until that day....

"I have a thousand things to say about Summer Lindsay Serafin. A thousand thousand. I’ll be saying them and thinking them and writing them down every day for the rest of my life no matter how brief or prolonged that may be. But today... Just for today...

She liked to sleep. That’s not what I wanna talk about but it has to be said. She loved sleeping. I’m listening to one her voicemails of late and she says she is so excited by the prospect of sleep. That “it is like (her) mouth is watering for sleep”. She says that. It’s good. I sometimes sleep now and just want to stay. I hope I might find her there.

It’s impossible, really. Impossible that I met her. That she “found me” she liked to say. I’m not from around here. It’s impossible that she lived in a place called “The Inner Sunset”. Impossible that she lit me up, this shining person, and held me, safely, in her orbit. Impossible. All of it. And today. Just impossible.

She was a terrible driver. Even Mike said so. I loved her battle-scared Blue Prius. The passenger side mirror in a kaleidoscope thousand pieces, dangling by a cable. A taillight busted. The bumper sagging. No, no she fixed that. The back seat full of boots and sunhats and coconut water. And tissues. She left a trail of tissues everywhere. Like Hansel & Gretel. You could follow it to its source and eventually find her.

She was – words, not for the first time, fail – an unearthly beauty. An ethereal beauty. And shockingly, entirely earthbound. Preternaturally present. She ate up life. With both tiny perfect fists. Ate it up. Actually, she ate quite beautifully. Do you remember that? Cutting and balancing petite bites, transferring them knife to fork with quiet elegance. Even bananas she ate like that. Seriously, I have a picture. I got her to try dark chocolate. She wasn’t a fan at first. She broke little bits off into tiny pieces. I looked over and she was sprinkling Equal onto them one at a time.

She was the dearest dearest girl. Nothing phony about her. If you got to know her at all, your heart just broke in two the moment you realized, the moment you saw her, really saw her and then surged with love. For her. This amazing girl.

She didn’t do anything to make it difficult, but I can understand how someone could think she was hard to get to know. She was friendly but never facile. She wasn’t frivolous. She was serious. She was fun, god, was she fun. She loved people – and this is what I wanna get it, at long last – she loved people and she took them seriously. Not everybody’s up for that. More fool they.

I’m circling the runway here, I know, but there’s one more thing I gotta say before I bring it in – she was a breathtakingly gifted actor. I met her doing Edna O’Brien’s Tir na nOg, Chris Smith’s last play at The Magic. She played the central role, a country girl in the west of Ireland who grows to young adulthood and further adventures in Dublin. And she burned that stage to cinders every goddamn night. With three broken toes. If you live here and you go to the theatre and you did not see her in that, I don’t know what to tell you. I really don’t. A year later, right after she was in Rock n Roll at ACT, she went down to Carmel to do David Hare’s The Blue Room directed by Ken Kelleher. I sat there between Linda and Coy and I just thought “god, what am I doing?” I have a perfectly healthy ego. I’m from New York. But I have never seen acting like that. She is like the supermoon. Once in a generation.

She loved her work. And she was good at it. But she had a higher calling. To love. And, yes, that is what I want to talk about. Because she told me. She told me she knew why she was here and that was to love. She was filled with love. So much love. And she wanted more than anything to share her love with others. She told me that. And there is absolutely no doubting it because you could not have a better piece of luck in this world than to have been blessed enough to have been loved by her. She was like that device they use in open heart surgery that cracks your chest open and holds it gaping, wide, so you can be healed. That fragile little muscle, scarred and scared and on the verge of shutting down, giving out, giving up, held now tenderly in her expert hands, beneath her loving, healing gaze.

Her love was tenacious, vigilant. Unflinching. I met her three years ago and she quickly became the center of my life. She didn’t drop people. If you were in, she was in. Even if you faltered because nobody had ever shown up for you before like this, she was on you. Checking in. Reminding. Different this time. Not goin’ anywhere. She hated talking on the phone but we talked every day, often for hours. For three. She knew everything about me. Things I never tell became hers.

And she made sure I knew her as well. Her gratitude, her pride in a happy childhood. Loving, devoted, would-take-a-bolt-of-lightning-for parents. Her epic struggle from the age of 5 to live. Ryan’s gifting her a kidney and the double organ transplant that saved and changed her life. The unfathomable loss of Jesse. She carried every piece of her past with pride and love and honesty into every room, knowing exactly who she was, like no one I have ever known. Or ever will.

God, how I loved her! She’s right. She did find me. I clung to her. “Like a liferaft” I told her she was, “to a drowning man.” She smiled and said, “you’re not drowning anymore.”

When my mom died last year, I was in London. I got the news in the middle of the night. I was alone. I called Summer, eight hours behind, here. When I told her, she burst into tears. And then told me to get on Skype. “I want to see you drink an entire glass of water”, she said. “And lie down. And try to sleep. I’ll be right here at my computer watching you. I will watch you while you sleep.” She watched over me like an angel, a cyber angel, and when I woke she was there with Linda getting me on a plane to New York and then on to Michigan. Then Summer flew herself to Detroit and waited in the airport all night to meet my plane. And was at my side every day for a week while I buried my mother. Who does that? Serafin love. Irrepressible, irreplaceable girl.

“When I met you”, she said “you were so wounded, so hurting, so sad – I just wanted to love you, to heal. But I never dreamed”, she added, “I would ever get so much love in return.” Who does that?
I need her. I am broken. That is as it should be. It’s supposed to be hard. She cracked my chest open. It’ll have to stay that way. Because who would go back? But it’s hard.

Summer, incredibly, had an answer for that, I think. All this is preface. She’d want to have the last word. So, I’d like to share that. It’s her Christmas card from a couple of years ago. She was in Boston doing Rock n Roll at The Huntington. It closed just before the holidays and she came to New York to exchange gifts with me. She made me promise to wait until December 25th to open it. So, I took it on the plane with me, waited til Christmas morning and opened it at my Mom’s. The gift was a beautiful blue and grey scarf she knitted. There was also a card. It’s to me but in a way it’s to us all. Everyone of us who she loved. Everyone of us who love her. And feel so lost. Because life is so lonely, the world so empty and wrong without her.

My Dearest Michael,

I’ve been working on this in the green room and backstage since we came to Boston. I’d drape it around my neck to keep warm while knitting in the dark of the freezing wings. The cast is decisively in favor of the striped color combination.

It’s Christmas day, and I’m wearing my pajamas. I’m in my P.J.’s even if you’re reading this when the sun has set. Ryan is making another bourbon and coke even if you’re reading this as the sun rises. My Dad is reading aloud shocking statistics about religion or politics, my Mom is spraying perfume on the dog, and me...? I am missing you. Maybe one day we’ll spend Christmas together.

Coy says “You are where you’re meant to be”, and while I like that idea, I know, far too well, what it feels like to be in a world where everything feels wrong – where everything is wrong. You have also been to that place. And as the world spins on its own axis, people are lost in their own needs and trials. We falter blindly, and strive endlessly. But no matter where you are, whether you should be there or not, and no matter who is present... know that you are a treasure in your own right. If the chest is buried, the key is lost, or the map stolen, it doesn’t matter; it doesn’t change the fact that it’s inside you. I just see what’s there. You carry it with you. What’s hidden can always be found.

I love you.
Your Gingersnap,

I love you, too. Love you forever. Goodnight, little sweetheart."

Monday, April 14, 2014

Tech fix...

Portatronics data recovery (W. 38th & 8th Ave) came through. They got my ancient phone back up and most importantly my earliest texts from Summer back. Grateful, I just painstakingly took iPhone pix of each screen going through them - then backed them up! Also just heartbreakingly/heartsoaringly wonderful to read each one. Love you forever, my little sweetheart...

Saturday, April 12, 2014


April 10. She moves in mysterious ways… Had an audition today for a play. Kinda a political thriller. The part of an art historian. Plot revolves around his expertise and as Summer famously, groggily said waking from a dream during our trip to Ireland “there was a hostage situation…” I haven’t read for a play for a while and these sides, to say nothing of the play itself, are quite linguistically dense. I prepare extensively, diligently and am very familiar, in the end, with the scene, almost entirely offbook. Ready. In a need to dress up, I slip on a suit jacket I used to wear all the time going out with Summer but seldom do anymore. I actually fit into it comfortably again maybe because I’ve been running almost every day for three months. Not having a drink in 66 days may get an assist on that, as well. The jacket has a pin, a “badge” as the Brits would say, on it from ACT’s production of “Rock n Roll”. Summer gave it to me on Opening Night and it’s been there on the front chest pocket ever since. The auditions are at rehearsal studios in midtown at W.36th St and 8th Avenue, on the upper floors of a huge office building. On my way through the revolving doors, someone grabs me. It’s Jeff Biehl, a castmate from Lucas’s Hnath’s “Isaac’s Eye” - the last play I was in 13 months ago. He’s just read for the same role. I go through security and up to the 17th floor, find the rehearsal room, there’s no sign in, sit down and wait there. An older woman is sitting there, too, preparing. It’s quiet for a while and then I hear an actor reading inside, the same part, none too well, I think. I feel bad about that, about thinking that, later after he comes out because he recognizes me and introduces himself. He’s an actor I knew in DC. He asks me how I’m doing in a way that I know he means he knows about Summer. I don’t mind. I love talking about her. And I do. How we met. Some of our adventures. Some of her amazing story. How much I miss her. How much I love her. About “Of Love and Loss”. About the cover. About Alex Alemany. About Summer’s Memorial Fund. Eventually, the older woman comes out. He’s waiting for her anyway. She’s also from DC. Katie Flye. She was the dialect coach on “Slab Boys”. I don’t recognize her but I knew her there, too. Sometimes, like now, I find it odd that anybody would recognize me from that long ago. Just before xmas, I was in Brooklyn with Jason to see Renee’s modern dance recital. We went out after and when I was in the men’s room I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. As we walked back to the subway, I told Jason, tearfully, that I didn’t think Summer would even recognize me anymore. “Yes, should would,” he insisted. “She’d recognize your eyes,” he added, helpfully. My two old DC compadres say their goodbyes and head for the elevator. They’re taking a break inside, so I wait some more. Having stood, I remember I still have my walletchain on. A little too punkrock for the part, I take it off and put it in my backpack. I’m wearing my Summer bracelet. My Summer pendant around my neck. My Summer sharpie tattoo freshly drawn on my left arm under the sleeve of my jacket with my Summer pin. I’m rather remarkably, entirely not nervous. And I hear myself saying, “remember to have some fun.” And that’s a bit weird because that’s nothing I usually tell myself. I usually remind myself that I’ve already prepared. That I just need to relax now. Just to be present. Do my best. 97 times out of 100, I’m not going to get the job anyway because it’s not up to me, it’s a thousand other things. Just chill out, be authentically yourself, read well. Never do I say to myself, out loud no less, “remember to have some fun.” That is Summer. That is purely a million percent Summer sitting with me in the next chair. Probably looking through her green canvas backpack for a tissue and wondering why she didn’t bring a coconut water with her from home while we’re waiting. They finally call me in. It’s a small room, overly heated, the director is there with a reader, both behind a table. The director asks if I understand the scene. Not “do I have any questions”. But do I understand. I tell her I won’t presume to say that I know because I wanna hear what she has to say. We talk about it - the scene, the role, the play, its uncanny current geo-political relevance for a work written 10 years ago. We settle on where to begin the sides. And then I do, I begin, with the reader. I know the scene. I know what I’m doing. New things come up. I’m present. I have fun. It’s one of those auditions where you feel them with you, feel them drawn in. Where you make the reader really respond, breaking her out of her trance having done this scene with a dozen actors over the last hour. Where you hear the director’s involuntary intakes of breath, murmurs of accedence, an entirely unexpected laugh of recognition. When it ends I get the feeling she doesn’t want it to. We’re still in the moment. We’re still - thank you, sweetheart - having fun. I can see that it’s perfectly fine not to get a note, to get an adjustment from her. She asks, the director does, if I have any questions. I don’t immediately know what that means. What kind of question would I have now? Ya know? Like after I’ve read? But Summer is there, after all. Summer is with me, so she’s right on it. Summer who heavily lobbied her father to give me my first iPhone one xmas, adding an extra line to the Serafin’s AT&T family plan, and who quickly grabbed it out of my hands the moment we came home so she could type her info in and be the very first contact, entering her name as “Cheeky”, saving and handing it back with her patented heartstopping grin. Summer is with me so she asks the question. “Can I have the job?” I hear myself saying. The reader laughs, the director’s a bit taken aback. By the cheek, no doubt. “It’s, uh, too early to ask that question”, she says, the mask going back on. Walking home, feeling lighter than I have in some time, even as I try to go through the routine - you prepare, you audition, you forget about it as fast as you can - I’m talking to myself. It’s not a problem talking to yourself in New York. No one takes notice. Especially in this neighborhood, on this route from the Garment District back up Ninth behind the Port Authority Bus Terminal. I’m talking to myself. I’m letting it go and I’m lighter but I’m questioning a little my astonishing boldness. I’m telling myself it’s okay. It’s a good thing. It demonstrates good humor and being comfortable in one’s own skin. People want to work with people like that, no? “Hey, I’m fun,”  I hear myself saying. And nearly getting hit by New Jersey Transit I crack myself up. “Oh my god! Yeah. That’s you alright. Loads of fun, you are. When you think fun…” And, ya know, can there be any question - can there be any - but that Summer is with me in these moments? Cheeky. Yes. Yes, you are my angel. Always. Always, my darling. Always, my Gingersnap. Always, my little sweetheart. Always.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

A Letter...

Sweetheart, it's sometimes a small comfort to know that other people out there have lost someone like I've lost you and that they understand. I got a very thoughtful letter from somebody like that who I don't even know and far across the globe. I just wrote this terribly kind person back and here's what I said, my darling:

Dear friend, I'm sorry you're feeling so blue. I am, too, actually, so I very much understand. The huge hole in my life, my desperate longing for Summer is always there but sometimes I can find simple moments of pleasure in little things or day to day encounters, even working toward something that seems rewarding or worthy. And, then, yes, other times nothing seems of any interest or import or comfort and I simply wish this could all be over and I could be taken. Yesterday was largely like the latter.  I was dragging myself through the entire day and at some point well before dark I'd just given up. I wish I'd been at least as productive as you - I've a pile of books I'm meaning to read, indeed have been meaning to get to for a year at the least. Instead, I simply lay on the sofa and let Netflix and a basketball game I didn't care too much about carry me into the night. At least I slept. I was down by 11pm and didn't rise this morning until 11am. Maybe the weekend will find me better but truthfully weekends may be even harder as they seem so keenly lonely. When I feel like this, there's really nothing I can imagine that would soothe me. Nothing but death and deliverance. Summer's best girl friend Danya told me early on in my mourning when she thought I might self-harm, that if I did I "would never find her (Summer)". Later, I asked Danya if her saying that meant that she believed in an afterlife and indeed what her beliefs were exactly. She couldn't tell me, didn't really have any. But somehow even though Danya's words were unmoored to any faith, they still had resonance for me. It's not impossible that words of great grace and import can fall from the lips of even the faithless, all unknowing. So, when I say I want deliverance, I know I can't do anything to bring it on myself. I just have to get through the days as best I can. And some days won't be good - let alone my best - at all. I may have many many more days where I give up before the sun has set. Where I let mindless passive viewing subdue me into tiredness and try again the next day. Maybe I'll get to actually picking up one of those books. But, yes, as you say, it's good to at least be able to tell someone, to tell each other things like this and know we'll be understood, know we've found a sympathetic ear. Know we've found a friend.

With love & faith,


Sunday, March 30, 2014

Tech help...

Headed to Tek Serve to try and get your earliest collection of text messages back, my little sweetheart. All I want is just to be able to see them for long enough to write down each and every word so that I may always have them with me until I may be at your side again in heaven. Love you forever...

Saturday, March 29, 2014

No Deed Will Go Unpunished...

So, I have this old Nokia cellphone. It was the phone I had before and until Summer asked Mike to get me an iPhone for Xmas. For years I've had it plugged in saving my earliest text messages from her. Today I was cleaning and I noticed it wouldn't power up, so I plugged it in in the kitchen and let it charge. I could see the texts, but an alert kept coming up telling me to set the time and date. Finally I did. After that I couldn't get to the text menu. A different alert just kept flashing, "insert smart chip". I could see other options, especially call history, which had Summer's number, date and time of calls. Finally I thought maybe that old trick of turning it off and back on again. Now, it only shows the "insert smart chip alert". Guess I ruined it.

Saturday, March 22, 2014


Dreams of you, my sweetheart have been ever more vivid somehow this week and I awake knowing that you are trying to find and guide and remind me. "Remember" was such a word of yours and I find so potent in my waking hours, missing and longing for you. And trying to do better. To be the person you were trying to help me become and I know even still are now from beyond my earthbound consciousness. Last night into the morning hours I dreamt you were with me. I'd bought some funny old car. I think now awake and writing of it that is a kind of recurring dream of mine. That I have some weird old car some place left forgotten and that I happen upon it or go looking. In this dream, my sweetheart, you were with me and we needed to get the funny old thing back to Davis but we had your Prius with us, too. I was so afraid to part with you. I knew we'd each have to drive one of the cars and had asked if you wanted to take a turn behind the wheel. You said you might like to in a while. Somehow I had the feeling that I was so lucky to have found you again and couldn't bear the idea of leaving your side even for a minute. But the sweetest part of the dream, my darling, through all of the strange, mundane logistics - what a normal, silly thing to dream of, no? - is that we kissed, my lovely girl. We kissed and kissed. And although I always used to close my eyes as our lips met, in the dream, again I couldn't bear to. I kept my eyes open and watched your mouth approach mine and I swear I could feel you. The way only you could ever feel in my arms. The way only you could ever kiss me. And for those moments, be they minutes or hours, in the other place of dreams, I was finally and again at home. You, my home, my love.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Love You Forever....

For my darling sweetheart who passed on to the Beautiful New Place three years ago tonight. See you soon, my love...."She was like that device they use in open heart surgery that cracks your chest open and holds it gaping, wide, so you can be healed. That fragile little muscle, scarred and scared and on the verge of giving out, giving up, held now, tenderly, in her expert hands, beneath her loving, healing gaze... God, how I loved her! My treasure. My gingersnap. Love you. Love you forever. Goodnight, little sweetheart." 

Saturday, March 15, 2014


These days three years ago of our 10 day vigil as Summer lay in the ICU... I remember arriving early every day and staying until late in the night, usually capped by an update from the neurologist. Only two people at a time were allowed in the ICU so we'd take turns standing there beside her, asking the nurses questions, eying the displays that monitored her vital signs, becoming inadvertent experts seizing upon any promising number. I wanted to be there holding her hand as often and long as I could. Her bed was angled up and Summer wasn't laying flat but almost sitting completely up, just reclining slightly with her eyes closed and I could almost imagine her simply asleep. Her left side was the more injured and her arm was in something of a sling, her hand held partly open by a small brace and gauze. Summer famously left a trail of tissues everywhere she went and more often than not if I reached for her hand, she had one balled up in her palm or trailing from her sleeve. When I stood now on her left side and slipped my hand into hers the gauze felt familiar like a palmed tissue, just like always. I couldn't leave. I'd stay for hours holding her little hand, stroking her forehead, whispering into her dear little ear, looking intently into the very bottom of her eyelids opened ever so slightly like a tiny parting in a drape, willing her to stir and wake and say my name and ask for some coconut water. At the end of one of those long days, Summer's dad and I walked out to the parking lot together and he turned and said to me that he needed to know that I wouldn't do anything to myself because if I did it would hurt them even more. I didn't know at first what he meant and asked him what. He said they were suicides in every one of my plays. I don't remember if he asked me to promise him or if I did. I think I just shook my head and said I understood.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Escape from New York...

March 7. Three years ago tonight was our last night. The last night I would fall asleep with Summer in my arms, her head on my shoulder, her sweet little feet hooked around my ankles, holding my hand. And we went to bed a bit early that night. It was a Monday, so it was her day off from doing On The Waterfront but she & I were in rehearsals for Blackbird so she was working double-duty and she was tired. We both were. It had gotten a bit chippy in the afternoon. We were rehearsing at ACT and they kept moving us every other hour. Something went awry with the space rental, with the scheduling, and they kept coming in and making Michael French pack everything up and move us to yet another room, yet another floor. When we got back to the apartment we were beat. I asked Summer what she wanted for dinner and, shockingly, she asked for pizza. We almost never had pizza. And only in New York where Summer liked Two Boots because they have that one with the whole grain crust. So I called for delivery. Some place in The Mission called, fittingly enough, “Escape from New York”. (I put it on my AmEx. I remember because that statement is taped to the wall over my desk. Because that charge is the last one made on my card before the accident. I wrote “still alive” next to it and taped it there after I opened and first read the bill three years ago. I’m looking at it even now…). We ordered pizza and then forgot about it. We forgot because they took like an hour to deliver and when it arrived it was big enough to feed a small battalion. Most of it got wedged into the fridge overnight. We ran lines for a while and then our hands over each other for a much longer, much needed while. Coming up for air at one point, breaking the clench slightly, Summer looked into my eyes and said with a wry smile “you were pretty mad at me today, huh?”. “No! No,” I insisted, well aware that I’m a complete pain in the ass in rehearsal. “I wasn’t really. I’m just…”. “You’re a such diva!” she said laughing. “I know, I know, “ I said. “I’m sorry, sweetheart. And I…. I…” There were more words after that but hard to make out while kissing. I do remember later as we lay there entwined and talking in the kind of whispers that lead to slumbers that she said so sweetly to me, “all you ever needed was just to meet the right…” “Girl”, I said in the same moment that she said “woman”. And nothing truer was ever spoken. I believe my whole life was a route, circuitous but determined, decreed, leading to her. Summer liked to say that she “found me”. And I like that idea. She found me and I needed to be found so that I could meet her and know her and love her. That’s why I was ever here. I really don’t know why I remain but I suspect (one of her favorite words, “suspect”…) that she holds that answer for me, too. Goodnight, little sweetheart…