So a long time ago, probably a time before the internets, I knew a guy named Bill Sparks. Not sure what happened to him. I think the last time I saw him was in 2001. Sometime in the summer of that year. Bill was a cool guy if a little idiosyncratic. His mother was a heroin addict in Houston. His father, I think, was a sailor. Bill was given away by his parents and raised by other people. He didn't know this until much later. He got married to someone who (from what I understand) basically tried to destroy Bill's life by taking away their child, Dane, from Bill. She succeeded. I don't think Bill saw Dane after a certain point, not after 2001 anyway. Dane is probably college age by now. I remember him as a little kid. Bill playing Meddle on his stereo, and us smoking pot. Dane running around. Bill introduced me to Bill Hicks (the late great) but hated the fact that the members of Tool identified with Bill Hicks. Bill (Sparks) thought Tool sucked and kinda brought down Bill Hicks who was the shit. Bill was a big fan of Swans too, especially The Burning World era mellow period, not so much the pound-your-fucking-skull-into-submission Children of God period, which I thought was better. I really liked Bill. Learned a lot from him. He would tease me, tell me to truly reject the world. I was, however, all talk and no action. Never did much to upset the status quo. An armchair anarchist. Some people would say that Bill was fucked up but no, not really, he just had a kind of clarity that most of us lacked. I'm sure Bill hated Barack Obama and did not vote for him. Probably didn't vote for anyone. Bill eventually dropped "off the grid," kinda like that dude in Into the Wild. Bill, with his M.A. degree in English literature (his M.A. thesis was a novella in which a major evil character was named Joy, after me, apparently), dropped out and disappeared. He was the kind of guy who would not want to have an e-mail address. He didn't really care much for the trappings of bourgeois living, but he was a kind heart. A really kind hearted man. I really think he was brilliant. If you are out there Bill, drop me a line and say hello. I want to thank you for turning me on to all sorts of weird cool music, even though we had arguments about Jimi Hendrix. I thought (and still think) that he was a mediocre guitar player and you still think he's a genius. The guy from Flipper was a better guitar player. Fuck, I'm a...um... better guitar player than Hendrix. We can continue that argument. We miss you.
I am in India now. Far away from home. I'm reading Mary Gaitskill's new one.