Heather will join us in spending the day remembering you. The 4’ by 7’ painting of you by your friend Attila Richard Lukacs makes us feel you are with us every day. It hangs in the hallway over the door of ‘your room’. Five years! Sometimes it seems like such a short time ago and other times it seems forever since we’ve had one of our choice political or philosophical discussions. I miss them.
I’d like to talk to you about a book I read about a brain scientist who had a stroke. It ended up being the most illuminating book I’ve ever read about right and left brain differences. You’d love it. Remember how it took longer than usual for your brain dominance to be determined? That unusual spelling paper with 3 words perfectly spelled on the left half of the page and on the right half the mirror image of 3 perfectly spelled words?
I’d like to talk to you about a book I just began The Family. The media touts it as a group of fundamentalist politicians who overlook and hide sexual infidelity of its members but it’s much more insidious than that. The group apparently want a theocracy as opposed to separation of church and state and prefer an autocracy by the Jesus’s chosen elite over democracy. They worship power as a way to do the mission of Christ and admire the power of Hitler and the mafia. They have cells or covenants and the ties are intended to be secret. They are elitist and believe they have been chosen by God. They see the old testament King David’s infidelity as proof that the chosen get to behave differently so long as they serve to allow Jesus to rule. As a perverse as you are you might approve. At least I picture you making a joke that you do. Chuck Grassley of Iowa is a devotee. I’d like to talk to you about health care reform and the hypocrisy of the far right. Faux news as Heather calls it is another topic. Can you imagine a so-called news agency so outrageous that other news agencies sometimes report their rants?
I’d like to talk to you about Astrid and how she’s growing.
Just thought I'd write / Mom
Your friend Michael Weholt's sister has a rare form of cervical cancer. It is very serious but the prognosis has improved since it was discovered. Naturally he is upset. He has a blog She lives not too far from Heather. He has been out to SF twice. The first time we had dinner at Heather's. The second time he came out here. I scrolled up the home movie scene of the face painting of you as a cat for Halloween. Michael laughed as we always do at the downturn of your lips as you see your face in the mirror.
I miss being able to discuss politics and the world with you. You always have a fresh perspective.
Your dad and I took a trip to Oregon this past summer. I saw my grandniece for the first time. She's an adorable little sprite. Let's see she'd be your first cousin once removed. Your other first cousin once removed Tanner is in school already. Nana enjoys him.
Your painting hangs over the room you slept in in the hallway overlooking the living room. It is a unique conversation piece.
You and Natalie were the subject of a recent email discussion. Sandy ran into some former teachers of Natalie and was heartened by their comments. It always feels good when one of your friends drops into your website.
tapsalot@mindspring.-com/ Kim Miller (friend)Read >>
tapsalot@mindspring.-com/ Kim Miller (friend)
I am so sorry to hear about Shannon's passing. I just found out today. I tried to find him on facebook once but had no luck. Another mutual friend who found me recently and who lives in NYC just informed me. I am glad you have this memorial website with such wonderful photos to share with all of us who loved him.
I met Shannon through work and we had a lot of mutual friends/ran in the same circles. Although I wasn't one of his closest friends I will never forget the several times I was lucky enough to hang out with him! Walking through the streets of Iowa City at night laughing and joking around. I wish we had been better friends and had hung out more. I am very sorry for your loss. I can't even imagine...
Thank you also for posting some of his writing. I was kind of shy and could tell he was incredibly intelligent and I didn't always know what to say around him but I'm glad for the opportunity to read his poems now. This way I am able to get to know another side of him that I was too clumsy and awkward to get to know back then. Thank you for Shannon. I wish you peace love and light. Close
Your surprise arrived today. It is a painting of you. You always wanted Attila to paint you. He has incorporated some of your ashes into the oil painting so it is truly you. It is based on a photo of you in St. Mark’s in Venice with pigeons, but is more you than that photo. I’m sure you’ll love it. It is amazing.
You can't see that your name is on the newspaper tucked into the shirt wrapped around your waist nor part of the title of your poetry book: Limmaginazione violenta
PS Here is an excerpt of an email describing your adventures with your friend, Attila Richard Lukacs
hi ELOISE!!! well....a thousand pardons for my tardy correspondance. much has happened between now and when i said that you would get shannon's portrait by x-mas. did i say what year? anyway the piece is done and we made a good crate for it here in the studio, just a matter of getting it to you. the size of the painting is 4' x 7'.
i can't recall now when i started the drawing for his portrait. but i do recall that shannon was always bugging me that i should paint him, and insisted that i would do his portrait one day. hmmm, guess he was right. i've never done this before. so i sifted and ground down his ashes in a mortar to as fine a powder as i could get. mixed it into the paint and noticed that it did discolour the paint in not the best way. but the ashes did make it in almost all the painting - the flesh tones and rays. in the mean-time, those years passing in between, shannon has been my constant companion, here and in my travels. in '07 when i went to maui, i took small bag of some of the ashes too coarse to paint with so that i could spread them. knowing and loving maui, i think it is a place where spirits exist, and thought shannon might like to share a vacation. to the north i gave him to the sand wind and sea on my favorite beaches. to the west, on the beautiful rocky lava cliffs in a wildlife sanctuary where the fags cruised overlooking david bowie's, tiger woods', michael jordan's and opra's homes. to the south, as far as i could get that day, the youngest part of the island barren, black, like mars. to the east, on the way to another nude beach a very old buddhist cemetery where i always lay a rock. and then into the water on a hidden red beach in a fantastic natural amphitheater facing a fierce ocean. lastly at almost sunrise, we had to stop 'cause my moms got sick in the car from driving up the hairpin curved road up haleakala, the volcano, where the gods live, and some flora and fauna that exist only on our planet up there. to the wind the rock and the rising sun. the year following i went to india, again with shannon in bag. do have to agree that it's cheaper to fly with a friend this way. i think this is when i had done drawn the portrait, and i was leaving, and often it's hard to come back and do something you''ve been away from. so i took his book, read a poem everyday when i got there, GOD knows he was good. so slowly the ashes spread from the palms of buddha, to the streets and finally for their intended purpose at the end of my trip, we sent him down a sacred river with the proper rites and rituals. on a woven bamboo basket, with flowers from the garden incense and a prayer to shiva . and this last year, even though we just went 2 years ago, maui again. by now back in vancity i was cursing shannon for his vanity. ohhh...... i have a video of shannon's india river ride and i'm going to send that to you as well. the remainder of shannon's ashes, and i did think you sent too much at the time, are comfortable here, i enjoy having shannon around,in spirit ..... and our travels haven't ended. i remember now in "03 when i was in india, shannon and i emailed each other a lot, my first time there, he wanted a portrait as soon as i got back, i talked him down to a a tattoo design. even then he wanted his face on the body of a hunky st. michael. lets face it he was vain,........ but he wanted to be there in india it was a destination he had hoped for one day.
shannnon is sittin here in a wooden crate which he never wanted....are you around to receive it?
Of course I remember you every day in some way. Every once in a while someone finds this site who knew you way back when. I had a nice message from a Mardi Deveaux. She said she was an acquaintance of yours at Iowa and that you had an impact on her. I sent her a copy of your poetry book. Others have said you influenced them and this time I asked how. Here is her response.
I had gotten my under graduate degree at the University of Iowa in the 80's. I had left in 89 and have never been back. Almost all of my friends knew Shannon and some were very close to him. I had met him several times and at various places, mostly The Deadwood. I have to say, during that period of my life, the circle of people were amazing. All a little bit crazy but very artistic, smart and we all had an insane sense of humor. One of my best friends, who had lived with Shannon, had recently informed me that he had a crush on one of our good friends. Ironically I had a crush at the same time with the exact same person.
We all thought Shannon was as beautiful. He had model looks and everyone knew him to be very smart. The impact I felt was to "up my game" a little bit more and to try to remain a "free spirit." Not always easy I suppose.
Honestly, the list of people who adored him was endless! I had always wanted to be good friends with him but time flew by too quickly. I was thinking that a ton of people have probably asked Shannon to be their guardian angel and there is a loooooooooong line of people on a wait list.
I hope I haven't drone on too long. My mother recently passed a few months ago and I'm still strongly feeling the sting. I am going to ask my good friend to write you some of the stories that he has about Shannon (since they lived together)>
Please feel free to ask further question! Thank you so much.
It's Mom again. I'll have a surprise for you in the next few days.
a toast to you, birthday greetings to yours -- Close
Your birthday gathering / Eloise Hamann (Mom)Read >>
Your birthday gathering / Eloise Hamann (Mom)
This was our fifth celebration of your birthday with your favorite dinner. Chris and Vic brought daffed daffodils. You would adore Astrid because she is an adorable, smart fun little cookie. We call her monkeynoodle for some reason.
I found some pictures in your things including a stunning one of you hitchhiking. It had to be someone you hitchhiked with who took it. I have a bad memory for names so could use some help in remembering. I am trying to put it at the top of your photo album, but the site is not cooperating so for now it's at the end. The site is also putting the wrong dates on additions to the site.
Heather stayed over and is still abed. The candles Vicky and I lit for you yesterday were labeled the 14th on this site for some reason.
You just had one of your poems published / Eloise Hamann (Mom)Read >>
You just had one of your poems published / Eloise Hamann (Mom)
I entered your collection of poetry in a contest. It didn't get chosen for publication, but the editors liked Hiroshima's Diary so much they wanted to publish it.
It's in Vol IX No.1 2008-2009 of Many Mountains Moving.
your ears must be burning! / Vicky Wheeler (xoxo)Read >>
your ears must be burning! / Vicky Wheeler (xoxo)
ok, so there's this facebook thing these days. wanda found me there & that led to vince, jon anne, taryn, aaron, lots of ppl who remember you. there's a FB page called 'i drank at the deadwood in iowa city in the 80s' or something like that. we're all therenow. there are pics of you from the photobooth. you were GORGEOUS. miss you so much. xoxoxovicky Close
Christmas PS / Eloise Hamann
On Christmas Day someone reviewed the first chapter of your Brad Pitt novel on the online writers workshop. People usually review as you post chapters as what's newly posted is on the home page, but once you have the novel all posted no one finds it any longer.
And yesterday, a high school friend and his wife stopped by. They couldn't get over how good looking you are. They were looking at the tuxedo photos.
Letters from Shannon / Eloise Hamann (Mom)
Dear Shannon, I spent this anniversary reading your letters. I did the same last year, but somehow this year I was able to laugh. You hated one of your classes because it was chock full of IDIOTS. In one letter you had a graph of your moods with peaks on the weekends. It’s also been a history of sorts. I just came to the computer to google Mary Beth Whitehead to remind myself of her story. I recall we didn’t agree about her situation but we had a good discussion. We always had good discussion. This time I was also reminded of your fierce passion on subjects and your own life. It was good to be reminded just how how much I love you. Sometimes my worry and irritation over your careless ways got in the way of that. Heather’s on her way. We plan to make Hermits. We’ll leave one out for you. I recorded I heart Huckabees as you liked that movie. I’ve seen it once but we’ll watch it again. ***
I didn’t remember much of the movie so it was good to watch it again. We lit your candle. Heather says Christmas is the time to do all things Shannon. I agree! Xxooo, Mom Close
been a while / Vicky
oh, i hear songs all the time and think i should make a tape for you, shannon! i haven't made a mixtape since you left us, but i still listen to the copies of the ones i made for you. last night i saw a screening of 'hedwig' hosted by john cameron mitchell at RISD college. he had a Q&A afterwards--he was REALLY funny and smart. i remembered when you told me about 'hedwig' a long time ago--it's what prompted me to see it in the first place and then watch it over & over again--and you said back then that you knew him. so i couldn't think of any question to ask besides 'john cameron mitchell, i love your work, do you remember shannon?' but i didn't ask it. all these earnest young college kids asked dorky questions, trying to be erudite and impressive. JCM was very kind to them, even when they droned on and on about nonsense. i was reminded of how when we (you & i) were young dorky college kids and you wanted to someday open a bar called 'kindness,' and how you valued kindness above all other virtues. tonight i'm having a bourbon and toasting KINDNESS in your honor, shannon. i miss you so much. *swak* Close
Four years / Eloise Hamann (Mom)
Shannon, Heather will come out and we will look at pictures and read your old letters. We’ll finish the Christmas décor. We had put up the tree four years ago the day before I got that awful call from New York. It’s become a tradition for us to continue to haul our Christmas finery down from the attic on the 4th. Last year your father relented and we have an artificial tree. Heather bought seashells for tree ornaments. We’ll add the pine scent with candles. The glass candle with your name etched in crookedly has been an odd comfort to me and we light it on holidays or when we are in the mood at a special dinner like when Chris and Vic come over. You would adore Astrid. You would be Uncle S. I am Grandma E, your Dad is Grandpa K, and Heather is Auntie H. She is already saying words and calls me E and your Dad K.
What Ben said! (the nite before the '08 election) / Heather (Sister)Read >>
What Ben said! (the nite before the '08 election) / Heather (Sister)
The silence that is you not being here...the silence of me not roaring with laughter from your spot-on Sarah Palin immitation. See how we fill in the blanks? But they're not filled in at all really... You know I miss you all the time and very deeply but I feel like I can say especially RIGHT NOW! You'd be thrilled with Barack I know...but I wish I could hear you say exactly why because I know you'd have much more depth and insight than I am capable of. This time tomorrow the world will be changed...I hope you can see and approve. And I can only imagine the celebrating we would be doing. I've got three bottles of champagne in the fridge.
I'm volunteering tomorrow (looks like in the rain) to get ppl to vote no on a gay marriage ban. I'm excited.
I've pretty much said all this in my inner dialogue with you, but more is churning as I actually write instead of 'muse'... I know you'd be happy for the things going on in my life...that you'd like my new 'friend', applaud my 'dancing'...defend my actions! Sure wish I could hear you say so though...the hubris! And that I 'bravely' travelled to Europe on my own.
I thought you would like this...I got to see REM in May and say hi to Michael...I found him less shy, in fact very open and happy. In front of a lot of ppl he said kind things about you but also that you were a 'beautiful and troubled man'...I thought 'huh, trouble is in the eye of the beholder'! ;() But beautiful yes undoubtedly...
(I guess my view is that you're like how ppl say 'he's trouble' or 'here comes trouble'...they might say it to a cute, messy toddler who is on his way to knock something over. Well, whatever.)
Anyway, get God and all your angel friends to deliver us a President Obama! Do you have any 'pull'? Teehee... Close
oh wow / Ben
the memory of you came rushing back all at once today and i didn't know what to do with it. i think if one of us had just moved away we wouldn't remember each other at all, but now you're part of my internal dialogue, dropping a comment every once in a while and then i'm reevaluating everything in that context. i dunno, i thought i had something more profound to say here but really guess i'm just remarking on the silence that is you not knocking at my door. Close
I miss kibbitzing with you about the upcoming elec / Eloise Hamann (Mom)Read >>
I miss kibbitzing with you about the upcoming elec / Eloise Hamann (Mom)
I know we would have spent hours and hours on the phone about our candidates. I know you would have supported Hillary in the primaries and we would have had grand debates over whether being black or being a hated cheater's wife would have meant more baggage. I think you having met Hillary and having been charmed by her would have gone for her. I decided the hatred of the Clintons was more of a liability, but it was a close call. Once I made my call, however, I became annoyed with Hillary and we would have gone round and round no doubt.
However, we would have both had our yuks and feelings of wanting to vomit over the negative turn of the McCain campaign. Speaking of yuks, the moose woman would have had both of us howling our heads off. It would have been great fun and a great release. Obama is ahead, but I'm so nervous. The RNC sent out this mailer associating Obama with terrorists absolutely approved by McCain. Am I wrongly giving you credit for the name Repuglicans.
I don't know if you read or would have read any Harry Potter. At any rate, Voldemort is such an evil witch or whatever they're called that throughout the series, you must not say "Voldemort". You must instead say "He who must not be named."
Your wonderful city's paper runs articles by Paul Krugman. One of the things he said ---and I can picture you being as creative ---of the Repuglican Convention is that there was no mention of "He who must not be named". It is in imho one of the most ingenious things I've ever read in a newspaper column.
You won't believe that a friend of mine sent me a bogus email containing a column purportedly written by Maureen Dowd claiming all of Obama's internet donations came from the middleeast. The information was ludicrous so you know no reputable columnist wrote it and certainly not Maureen Dowd whose columns are full of wit and humor and of course the phony column was full of boogey man scare tactics. What is it about this phony shit which sounds so much alike? Do they only have one neanderthal writer? My gawd, if you're going to make stuff up why not be suble, creative, maybe even believable? What's funny is a site which talked about the real column on the date the phony one was supposed to have appeared said the hoax was an insult to the American intelligence. While I agree, whoever said that didn't know how dumb and ill informed some people are.
We plan a party on 1/20/09, the end of an error, no matter who wins, You'd better come down from your perch and attend. Should have Chris and Vic over on election night, but I don't want to jinx it. Obama is ahead in the polls, but the negative shit is piling up from the other side and I, for one, don't underestimate the average voter so I'm scared.
This is a long winded way of saying, I miss you especially at this time as we had some marvelous political discussion. I've lit your candle which stands near me and it is waving in the breeze.
Truly Arrived / Eloise Hamann (Mom)
You would have been amused by my recent crossword puzzle. The clue was M. Stipe's band, 3 letters. You can be sure your friend has arrived when he appears in a crossword. It indicates not only gravitas but also permanency.