I woke up this morning feeling good;it's Friday, and tomorrow it will be thirty days until my 40th birthday. Yep, I'm going to be forty. I believe I'm handling it well. I'm not rushing out to get Botox or making plans to just hide in my room on June 5th. No matter what happens, 40 will be an adventure.
I had my bowl of cereal and coffee, then started reading Red Room blogs. I do this every morning. Then I went on twitter to start promoting my ebooks. Then I noticed a familiar name on the twitter feed: Wayne Shannon. And then I read 1948-2012. And I thought oh crud.
If you lived in the Bay Area during the 1980's, you saw Wayne Shannon at least once on television. He was on KRON 4 for years. He would go on last and for two minutes look right at the camera and tell a story. Usually it would be about a recent news story, or something local in the Bay Area: Fleet Week,the month Queen Elizabeth came to San Francisco. And oh God, he could be funny. There were times you heard the anchors and camera people laugh behind the scenes. Sometimes they would just end the show with everyone just laughing.
Wayne Shannon was all around local TV and not just in the Bay Area: he performed in Vietnam. The blog edrants posted an interview he did visiting the Vietnam Wall when it went on exhibit. He told the interviewer that he was worried that he would see names of people he knew from his hometown there. He didn't, but he looked shaken.
He did news in Philadelphia then went to San Francisco for six years. Then in 1988 there was new management at KRON and they fired him. I remember one day he was there, one day he was gone. Just like that.
I continued to read about him: he was one of the first commentators on CNBC.Worked at a TV station in Portland. And then he left the airways. He wrote for yahoo's weather page for a while. The man who ran the edrants page tried to convince him to go on NPR, go on twitter. He refused. And a few days ago (according to San Jose Mercury News) turkey hunters found his body in a Idaho forest.
When I read that he killed himself, I felt an awful headache come on. They've been coming on pretty regularly this spring; it has to do with allergies. I made myself take an allergy pill and aspirin. Took a bath and let the steamy water go towards my nose. Dad called, complaining about his TV set. I retreated to my air mattress, and I started to cry.
I remember watching Wayne Shannon and not always agreeing with what he said. But it was always great to see good writing on television. Shannon came out with a book of his own called What's It All Mean? On my mattress I thought why did he do it? Was he in pain? Was he sick? Did he think no one remembered him? I remembered him, many people remembered him. But it wasn't enough. KRON, the station he was on for years hasn't done a tribute to him yet. How could a man who wrote so much and was on thousands of TV screens for years just go away to a Idaho forest and die?
I don't know. What I did know was I had to take care of myself. The headache was slowly going away. I needed to get dressed. I needed to write. I needed to keep on going. In the end, there's no choice, is there?
Wait, for now.
Distrust everything, if you have to.
But trust the hours. Haven't they
carried you everywhere, up to now?
Personal events will become interesting again.
Hair will become interesting.
Pain will become interesting.
Buds that open out of season will become lovely again.
Second-hand gloves will become lovely again,
their memories are what give them
the need for other hands. And the desolation
of lovers is the same: that enormous emptiness
carved out of such tiny beings as we are
asks to be filled; the need
for the new love is faithfulness to the old.
Don't go too early.
You're tired. But everyone's tired.
But no one is tired enough.
Only wait a while and listen.
Music of hair,
Music of pain,
music of looms weaving all our loves again.
Be there to hear it, it will be the only time,
most of all to hear,
the flute of your whole existence,
rehearsed by the sorrows, play itself into total exhaustion.
Causes Jennifer Gibbons Supports
Gilda's Club, Greenpeace, Rosie's Broadway Kids,Westwind Foster Family Agency, Amber Brown Fund, Linda Duncan Fund for Contra Costa Libraries