Distress Signals

Lawrence Gibson, Copy Berg, gay vets, Get Off My Ship

My Posthumous Friendship With a Civil Rights Hero

berg gibson
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Back to School

I met Lawrence Gibson at a turning point in my life. After landing my first literary agent and riding the high of a hit play I had abandoned a relationship and a lucrative day job to devote myself full-time to being a starving playwright. I crashed temporarily on the couch of my generous Uncle Joey and, despite an MFA, sought out only part-time office jobs. I soon found myself with a receptionist gig at one of New York City’s many prominent private schools.

At first the administers was baffled by my application; surely, they thought, I was using the job opening as an entrée into teaching there, but I assured them I had no interest. I just wanted to leave at noon every day. They gave me the job on a trial basis. On my third day I met someone who seemed all but invisible to me, and who would, due to my own self-absorption, stop seeming that way to me only after he died. Then his spirit reached across from the netherworld, grabbed my collar and shook me into noticing him. He also enlisted my help. CONT’D AT MEDIUM.COM>>

UPDATE:

Hi Valerie,

Well, you aren’t mentioned in the book but I knew from the New York Times obit that he had a sibling named Valerie. Nice to meet you. I’m surprised not to have heard from you sooner as this isn’t the first time I’ve talked openly of my hope to adapt Get Off My Ship. Please see my previous blog posts athttp://brain-on-fire.com/jefeblog/tag/copy-berg (sadly I never got to talk about it on Coast to Coast AM as I had hoped to do). I trust we’re on the same team in wanting Gibson and Berg’s Navy story told, remembered, and restored to its rightful place in history. I consider them civil rights heroes.

I recently also received an email from someone at the Brooklyn Historical Society asking if I knew Copy’s exact address on Dean Street. They really just wanted to know if he lived on the Brooklyn Heights section of Dean for an upcoming exhibit about gay rights activists in Brooklyn Heights. I’ve told them that as far as I know he lived a few blocks away from Lawrence in Boerum Hill, not the Heights. Steve is also looking through Lawrence’s stacks and stacks and stacks of papers to see if he can find anything but so far has had no luck on a specific Dean Street address for Copy. Is this something you might know? If so I’m happy to put you in touch with them.

As for your posting and your three terse emails via my personal blog, I’ll work my way through them in the order received… CONT’D AT MEDIUM.COM>>

 

After the Gold Rush

Amtrak Residency. Days 6 and 7. Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Calfornia.

20150318_164818Amtrak Residency
Days 6 and 7
3/18 and 3/19/15

 

 

 

 

20150318_124147Yesterday and today were mainly traveling days.  Up refreshed by 7:30am yesterday despite the previous night’s ghostly shenanigans, I worked on LITTLE ROCK for awhile before heading to the Hot Springs Pool for one last dip before skipping town.  I had lunch at Polanka, a hole in the wall run by two Polish Continue reading “After the Gold Rush”

Crossing the Great Divide

Amtrak Residency
Day 4
3/16/15

Ron Pasko who runs the lounge car on the California Zephyr
Rod Pasko

I woke up about 6:30am to see a brilliant quarter moon hanging over dark Denver so close you wanted to eat it. I jumped down from my upper berth and commenced to working more on revisions to LITTLE ROCK.  By the time we pulled out of Denver the sun was up, and from here on out was where the finest viewing on the California Zephyr began.

The observation car was absolutely packed, a standing room only crowd, so I went downstairs to the Continue reading “Crossing the Great Divide”