As I drove home from work this afternoon, exhausted from five hours of lecturing and still recovering from a very busy weekend celebrating my daughter’s eighth birthday, my mind turned to what I would write here today to commemorate the tragedy of three years ago. I had a number of ideas, but none of the ideas seemed to really be going anywhere.
Then the randomness of my iPod’s shuffle mode turned my thoughts in a completely new direction. The song that came on was called “Hey Gene” by The Choir. It is an elegy that both celebrates the life and mourns the premature, unexpected death in March of 2000 of Gene Eugene; a musician, songwriter, and producer in the Orange County (CA) Indie Christian Music scene in the 80’s and 90’s. He was the frontman for a band called Adam Again, and collaborated with Derry Daugherty of the Choir and others to record several albums. His music and the music he produced played a big part of my high school and college years. Eugene was one of the best producers in the business at the time, and he died in his sleep at his studio, The Green Room, in Huntington Beach, CA. Daugherty penned the words to “Hey Gene” and first performed it at the Cornerstone Music Festival in Illinois during the summer of 2000 (this is the recording I listened to several times this afternoon).
All this is to say that Gene Eugene, like our Man, was a much-loved and admired artist whose life ended far too soon. So hearing the words to this randomly selected song on this the 12th of September, I couldn’t help but think of our Dave as well. While not every line of the song applies, I think it captures pretty well what I am feeling today: sadness of a life cut short, but happiness in celebrating what his life and writing have meant to me and to so many others. We have reason to mourn, but even more reason to celebrate the gifts he left behind. Here are the lyrics:
I am still amazed at the incredible journey I have taken while reading and writing about Wallace’s works. I never imagined in January of 2010 when I started this blog that I would be where I am today: in the midst of a wonderful online literary community and a week away from leaving for the “Work in Process” conference in Antwerp, Belgium.
Thanks, Dave, for one helluva ride.
“You always were a curious kind soul / Sad you had to go so soon”