Another Harlan Remembrance
One of the few columns from Buzz Magazine
I don't think this one was compiled. The audio is from a cassette sold with the magazine.
"The Dedication of the Nixon Memorial Library"
- Brian Phillips
A beautiful tribute from the Village Voice
"The consistency with which Ellison wrote smart, complex stories in his own unique voice stands out as proof that he belongs in the mainstream literary canon as much as Poe, Camus, Baldwin, or Austen"
by Carol Cooper
July 2, 2018
Harlan Ellison's Mystery Bumper Sticker
This one from Harlan has me smiling again: Harlan had left us with a mystery expression after upsetting a guy named Dave from Cleveland:
- Monday, November 15 2010 19:41:5
I AM GIGGLING
...and I thank all of you for providing me with the happy. silly giggling.
Your affection goes unquestioned. Youse is, one and all, a good bunch.
The giggling is because, s'help me, I actually and REALLY had (nor, to this second, HAVE) any idea what got "Dave from Cleveland" upset. No, truth to tell, folks...
I never saw his original post. I had nothing to do with it being deleted. As Steve Barber correctly pointed out, that is the sole purview of the Webmaster of this site, half a continent away. If/when (seldom) something seems amiss to me, I give the Great and Wonderful Wyatt of Oz a land-line phone call, and say something akin to, "Uh, Rick, there's someone trying to sell the Pavilion visitors real estate in Samoa, could you delete it when you're not actually having a segment of life?" And he will, sometimes, and sometimes he won't.
By me...cool. No harm, no foul.
But, I swear on the graves of my Mom and Dad, sir, from Cleveland, or wherever...
I never saw what was deleted, never asked for deletion, am terribly sorry that you feel upset about all this, and I mean no incivility when I say, if I pull up behind someone with a bumper sticker that says, I dunno, something like, NO WALLARDS!
AND I WANT CHLOROL NOWWWW! and it's about as understandable to a limited intellect such as mine as, say, Navajo Code Talk, you'll permit me to twirl confusedly and say, Huh?
I have NO idea what upset you in the first place.
You have NOT expressed WHAT you're upset about.
Your post to which I DID respond has not satisfied you.
You have apparently assumed, i say AH-SOOOM'd, son, that I'm in some way a bad guy and those who think well of me are poltroons of some sort...
again for unspecified acts of Malevolence that have you gnawing on your cell's padding...
and you seemingly want attention for a slight NO ONE HAS HEARD.
Is it possible you posted your rancor to someone ELSE named Ellison? Because THAT I understand, and so does Ralph.
But, at the moment, I am writing THIS not for you, or even giving a hoot about your adolescent use of an essentially misanthropic medium of non-communication, I am writing it for people who come here to chat AT MY SUFFERANCE and in friendship.
I am speaking to all of YOU, including my pals Barber and Castro, just giggling my ass off at this guy who is pissed at me for not shriving myself anent a bumper sticker I NEVER EVEN saw.
Now, I don't know what YOUR day's been like, but I've had a good chuckle out of this melange-of-maundering.
Yr. Pal, Harlan
Thank you Mark Goldberg. And thank you for your years of friendship to the Ellisons and to so many more.
I was on a panel discussing Babylon 5 at ConVergence and requested a moment of silence for Harlan at the start of the panel. There were some stories about him during the panel but that was the extent of the Harlan references that I was aware of during the Con.
So wish I could be in Atlanta for that screening of Dreams with Sharp Teeth
And yes, Susan is an incredible person who is in my thoughts and prayers regularly. I was lucky enough to meet and talk with her on a couple of occasions and all the positive impressions you have cannot capture one scintilla of the beauty and warmth she radiates. It was easy to see why Harlan fell so madly in love with her (and she with him, they really were an incredible couple)
Even though I’ve resolved to convert my Ellison collection to paperless, I’ve decided,that the only cure for my malaise, would be to have fresh Uncle Harlan to read. I went to the online store and ordered Bloods a Rover and Rough Beasts,and now eagerly await their arrival. There is something about Ellison on the printed page that’s not captured in e-book form, maybe I’m just old-school that way.
I can’t believe there’s a world without Harlan Ellison in it. I can’t imagine what Mrs. E is going through I’m sure she is in all of our hearts.
I was fortunate to meet him once at the trek convention here in Vegas before his health really started going downhill. I was struck by how alive his eyes were and how blue. He was kind to me even as I was fanboying out. He signed my raggedy copy of the comics journal and said “ I got into a lot of trouble for that one”, and I could tell that he wanted to go into the story, but the line was very long. That comics Comics journal interview was where I discovered Mr E. And I’ve been a fan ever since. I was fortunate to get a picture of him in the obelisk for The City on The Edge of Forever. I think Mrs E and I were the only ones to get that shot. I have to dig up my old phone to make sure I don’t lose it.
The world has lost a giant. I will go back to lurking now. I’ll wait for my order to come and then hopefully be reminded of why I became enthralled in the first place; the words.
I loved the work. "Memos From Purgatory" holds a special place for me. I met him once. He was polite and civil. What can I say? He mattered to me...
Screening of Dreams With Sharp Teeth
A memorial screening of a remastered copy of the 2008 documentary “Dreams With Sharp Teeth” will be shown in Atlanta at the
LANDMARK MIDTOWN ART CINEMA
931 Monroe Drive
Atlanta, GA 30308
Tickets: $11 per person
For tickets call: (404)-879-0160
Local authors Bill Ritch, Ed Hall, and others to be announced, will be speaking about Harlan before the showing.
H for Harlan
Harlan Ellison's death hit me harder than I thought it would. My best friend and I "grew up" on his work in th 70s and 80s out here in the San Fernando Valley. When I learned the sad news, I contacted him right away, and he responded, "Awwwww. Damn. Didn't think it could happen, somehow." Can't forget the first time I ran into him totally by chance at the Dangerous Visions Bookstore on Ventura Blvd. while asking for directions after getting lost, how he brought Susan to that Halloween party at the store back in 1985, or that last time I saw him at the dedication of The Ray Bradbury Library a few years back. He signed my 1st edition of MIND FIELDS in blue ink with a fountain pen. I actually had a dream of him once. He was in standing in a dark bathrobe in his kitchen and making coffee, with the music of the Bill Evans recording "You Must Believe in Spring" swirling through his kitchen. How delighted I was when one of my pediatric patients was named after him ("after the author," the boy's father told me.) I will always be grateful that I came across his work and that I got to meet him, not just once but a few times in my life. He was always kind to me. And I am so glad that he found lasting love with Susan, and that she was there for him especially the last few years if his life when he needed her the most.
"I'm crying for the loss of all the years I spent without you, the years before I met you, all the lost years of my life; and I'm crying that there are less years in front of me than all those lost years behind me."
-- from the short story "Susan" in MIND FIELDS
question for Mark Goldberg
Mr Mark -
The recent mentions of tributes at LASFS and ComiCon has me wondering if there was anything done at CONvergence over the weekend. Is there anything you can share with us?
Message for Susan
Countless people who will never be lucky enough to meet you share your grief right now. You will never be alone.
Okay, I'm a wee-bit irritated.
I knew there were plans for some kind of tribute to Harlan and I was 100% planning to attend.
Now I see LASFS did one on 5 July (4 days ago) and there will be a tribute at ComicCon (for which I do not have tickets).
Well, if there is ever an "official" tribute I know about and can attend, I will be there. Just won't be at those two.
Never say never
Maybe you will meet her some day,Chuck. Who knows? Why not? She's known far and wide as the sweetest, kindest woman on the Planet Earth, you know!
I'm afraid I never had the pleasure of meeting or talking to Susan Ellison. However, it seems to me that she is a special person, someone I would have liked to have met.
I'm also afraid my weak little condolences will do little to alleviate the pain she must be going through right now, but I offer them anyway.
COMICON PANEL JULY 22
Of course you'll have long since needed to have scored passes. This isn't like ten years ago when you can just show up and buy a one day membership. But it will probably be recorded and go up on Youtube.
A tribute to Harlan Ellison: The world recently lost a titan writer/fantasist, Harlan Ellison. But the stories he left behind are legendary. Attend this loose and likely profane celebration of the man and his writing as moderator Chris Ryall welcomes Josh Olson, Bill Sienkiewicz, William Stout, Erik Nelson, Steve Barnes, Nat Segaloff, Jude Meyers, Scott Tipton, J. K. Woodward, Christine Valada, Jason Davis, and as many other friends of Harlan that can fit on and around the dais. As a bonus, Dreams with Sharp Teeth director Nelson will also feature some never-before-seen documentary footage of Harlan, and all in attendance will get complimentary print, too.
Sunday July 22, 2018 3:00pm - 4:30pm
Dreamt on the Wings of an Eagle...we fly.
Funny really,Death,we live our lives knowing it can swallow and grind our lives in a flash,yet we carry on as if we have no fear,no hesitation to live day to day being just ourselves. There are some who pass in your life that you just wonder, "How did I come to know him and is there a purpose?" I felt this about Harlan Ellison,I even had a chance to ask him about TLDV once,and he laughed,and blamed the beautiful women in his life. Boy,did he ever find one in Susan. Let's just be friends here,some like Trump some don't,then comes another then another, and what remains is our own integrity,how we conduct ourselves amongst others,whether equally educated or lesser,we now share a similar Life experience, we experienced Harlan Ellison! Imagine saying the same for Jules Verne. Sending a faint smile and a loving kiss to Susan,you are not alone.
Thank you, Harlan
I have been out of the country and came back to this sad news. Harlan was incredibly generous to me. He surprised me by telling me that he had read my book and liked it. He gave a diverse debut author a kind blurb that meant the world to me. He also offered to help with edits, gave me advice about publishing, and was an all-around supporter. To have a writer of his brilliance believe in you was the greatest gift to someone who had grown up with few resources.
To talk about Harlan is first to have a flood of images flash through me like movie clips. Many wild, funny stories of times with him and Susan. Knives, typewriters, a small door, the hospital, an Argentinian restaurant, road rage in the rain.
I am so sad that he is gone.
But lucky for us, he left behind some words.
Campaign for Recognition
The day we.learned of Harlan’s death, this retired newspaperman spent hiurs on the phone w/ the NY Times and Associated Press, trying first to get the term sci-fi out of their obits and to correct the date on the Getty photo in circulation at many publications changed from 1977 to a more likely 1967 or earlier.
I even pointed out publication of sci-fi might result in his more rabid fans sending ripe dead gophers to their office, and why.
I went on to suggest a large take-out, a story that can hold a day if Trump does the impossible and tells the truth over a 24 hr period - explaining that 1) Harlan Ellison was not a VIOLENT man, but one angry about the simple injustice of humanity in its treatment of everything from individuals to the planet we need to live on.
I also pointed out he was our Jorge Luis Borja - and that his work had been ignored because JLB sits in the “Literature “ section of the book stores still extant, while no matter what he is writing about, from 50s Brooklyn street gangs to the horror of our society’s bigots, the quality of its mass media, or writing the finest scripts for same, it is all buried away in the si-fi/fantasy section (as Cordwainer Bird found it, possibly leading to the collapse of the Brentano’s bookstore chain - no I didn’t suggest that. To them)
I tried ti explain that his stories are some of the most widly taught in Current/Recent American Lit courses across the land, that IHNM,AIMS was the title of a SHORT STORY and a collection of same, and that The (award winninh) City ... was not the Star Trek episode as filmed.
Hell, I even explained that aside from when “fans” harassed him into doing Teddy Crazee numbers on them, he was a delightful man to talk with. As polite and respectful to interviewers who treated him with politeness and the respect he was due.
GOT BATFUCK NOWHERE
Please join me in sending letters to the editors of. the papers youread. Or SHOULD BE reading, damnit, not relying on Facebook gosip fornews, to correct the record.
There’s only so much the 1 person on today’s shredrd news staffs who, like me, proud to be one of the @100,000 -1 million people Harlan looked at and said “I know you, don’t I, from ....”while awaiting a reminder, like full name and from where...
Damnit I knew, of course, his death and lack of recognition was coming, I still wasn’t prepared.
Susan, if you happen to read this, I know the last couple of years must have been as tough as the end - but, I have reason to know, not just say, that you were indeed the love, maybe the only woman he truly loved, during his long life, and I know there’s absolutely nothing a vague acquaintance of an interview subject can EVER do for you, but if there is Zeising knows how to find me.
Lost Aztec Temple ...
In his Introduction to APPROACHING OBLIVION Michael Crichton says something about how "ordinary" (i.e. similar to its neighbors) Harlan's house is from outside. Even those of us who have not had the pleasure/honor of visiting it know this is not so. Was it true at the time, or was Crichton attempting misdirection? Or did his comment help prompt Harlan to make it not so afterwards?
it is said
but if everything/
will always be
of a certainty
"You are not alone."
I found Mr. Baldwin on Facebook and complimented him on his painting. I told him if felt like a physical shock, which is what Harlan said art should be. He was pleased by my comment. From what he said, no prints are available right now, and I'm not sure I'd have the scratch to buy a work of art like that one.
But damn, it did deliver a shock.
"I try to do a good deed every day." Many of us have heard/seen Harlan say this at one point or another, and in fact he said it to me as he was signing my copies of "Pulling a Train" and "Getting in the Wind" at La Luz de Jesus in 2013. As a Southern California resident I was lucky to enjoy many opportunities to meet Harlan at signings, and this was the last time I saw him.
I will never forget that one of these good deeds was for me once, years earlier, when he helped me recover money from a publisher who had taken pre-orders for a set of Ellison books that were never actually produced. I had the chance to return the favor many years later by sending him some newspapers he needed by overnight express that were not readily available in LA.
The point of all this is that I have always remembered Harlan's comment about trying to do good deeds. While I may not do one every day, I try to do something, even if it's just letting someone ahead of me in the supermarket line or giving a dollar to a homeless person. I often think "what Harlan said" when I am doing this, and it invariably brings a smile to my face. In addition to hundreds of wonderful stories and essays, this is among the contributions of his that will remain with me for a lifetime.
Ditko? Ah well, time does it's awful work.
Keith, that's a great idea! I'll be in touch.
Friends I can only speak for myself and will only speak for myself. If this place could mutate into a forum to discuss the WORK, the ART, the CRAFT of Harlan Ellison that would be beautiful. But I have zero interest in rehashing Ellison's Bad Behavior. Saints rarely ever make good art. Surely I'm not the first person ever to notice this!
The folks who loved him and the folks who hated him will all have to deal with his absence in their own way. To those for whom this is a personal loss I express my condolences. For those who made a career out of hating Ellison, well, time to move on. For those like me who were profoundly moved and shaped by his work, well the work remains. Everybody dies but not everybody does the work.
"How about that UTTERLY STUNNING painting of the Deathbird by Joaquin Baldwin!!!"
I love it too. Hope it stays up there, as a permanent memorial to Harlan.