Thursday, October 09, 2014

Throwback Thursday

On this day, 63 years ago, a man named Stan Henry was born in Angola, Indiana. I would meet him in the fall of 1989, when Pilgrim Center for the Arts in Seattle produced our plays together as "Voices from the Fringe" when I was still living in Idaho. That pairing began of one of the most rewarding, challenging, enlightening, and impactful friendships of my life. He was a mentor of sorts before I even moved to Seattle. In 1993 he wrote me a poem, commanding me to break out of Idaho. I obeyed. I still have the poem, framed. 

He later wrote under the pen name "Staszek." His first book, Three-Hand Jax and Other Spells, was nominated for a Lambda Literary Achievement Award in the Small Press Book category, losing out to a collection titled, The New Fuck You, which gave Stan and me many fits of giggles. "Jax" sold well enough for a second printing, and I still encounter the book in used bookstores. Just last summer I found a copy of the book at Powell's in Portland. If you can find the book, I highly recommend it. It includes the play, "somebody... please" which was produced along with my play "Substance of Things Hoped For" in 1989. 
In 1997, he self-published a short, second book, Wind of Knives, which I designed the cover for. It was one of the most challenging books I ever read; not for everyone. It did not sell well. When I met him, he had been working for years on a novel, Enkidu, a queer (in the broadest sense of the word) modern re-telling of the Gilgamesh story. Stan gave--no, make that performed--a mesmerizing reading of the first portion of the book. 

He also worked on another novel, Queen of Control, of which I have an unfinished manuscript copy. Neither of these novels was published. 

Stan Henry took his own life in November 2003.


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