Friday, January 27, 2006


As I faced the heart-rending pleasure of talking about my close partner, collaborator, and wife of 35 years, I wanted to leave it at one phrase: I-love-you, divine Jane, who passed from us for reasons still unknown on the morning of January 30, one day before the newest of years. And then I remembered...

Given her brilliance, sweetness, and drive ( Bill Downey and Shirley Davisoon, my colleagues in the Fluxhouse co-op where we lived part-time and worked full-time for more than 30 years, wrote a tribute to her you'll shortly hear that sums it up succinctly)...I can in truth not think of any idea, any writing, any artwork, any traveling and teaching abroad...that wouldn't remind me of Jane, who was always there, always driving me (cf. Downey), and always sweetening anythng difficult.. if not actually simplifying it (she had a taste for complexity, resolved, as her co-op mates, for whom she often served as President or Secretary, can tell you). And this one, this remembrance of I-Love-You, the phrase and its revolutionary linguistic reappraisal in the 70's...will tell you in many ways more about her and why I cannot bear a minute without her...than any other.

It was September, 1977, when Roland Barthes read to us in Paris from his great, as yet unpublished or trans- lated book, Un Discours Amoreux ("A Lover's Dis= course"). I went there hating his ideas, hating everything straight-jacket Structuralism--or any closed ideology-- stood for. Yet he seemed then the world's most eloquent advocate of this monster: he was simply, then, the premiere linguistic academician of our time, so admired even my editor of Newsweek, the people's weekly, consumed by 30 million readers a week, few of them academics, knew of him, knew I was passing through Paris on my way home from a six-month leave of absence in tense, Cold-War Berlin (to join Beuys & Paik in Documenta 6 to make the world's first live global telecast produced by humble artists)--and that I was therefore his to command.
"Stop in Paris for a weekend," he ordered, and "scoop the world for us about this new book he's writing about sex." Of couse Jane went with me, not only because she was half of me (we had been married nearly 8 blissful years then, raising two daughters by another woman, with a third--our daughter--only a few years away. But SHE spoke French, the lyric Genevan variety,
the result of her studying there while her father represent our land, economically, for our Department of State....and I didn't understand the Frog tongue spoke, though I had passed doctoral exams in reading & writing it--so...she proved again a partner to die for: always handy always capable when you needed her.

So we go, tingling with mixed excitement and irritation, to see Barthes, who proved a pleasant, dumpy, middle-aged Gay man (surrounded by muscular young students, desire oozing from every vein). Of course he smiled, made pleasant chit-chat with Jane, offered us wine and then stood up to read to us from a new book. Later I asked my Newsweek readers and i ask you now, here in Trinity and on our Blog throughout the world.... to...LISTEN CAREFULLY, WORLD, FOR IT TELLS YOU ALMOST EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW...ABOUT THE DANGER, DIZZINESS, DEVILTRY, AND DARING...OF LOVE, OF COMPANIONSHIP, OF THE LANGUAGE WE SPEAK AND THE LIFE WE LEAD....


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