I had him as my professor for Creative Writing Fiction at this time last year. I went through my old writing folder earlier and came across a story I submitted to our class for review on 9/12/07. It's overwhelming to think that it was the beginning of his last year of life.
He wore his bandana to class daily and was often wearing a tie-dyed Lord of the Rings shirt. It suited his awkward genius in a perfect way.
It was a class of 10 and we all became close to him and to each other. In May, when I needed a recommendation letter, he wrote me one in two days, completely forgiving my inability to give him a time frame.
When I sent him a reminder letter:
You told me to email you to remind you to write that letter. Here it is!
That didn't seem like sufficient content for an email though, so I thought about attaching a picture of a puppy, but then I didn't.
K: The letter's done and in the weird plastic box outside my door. Go pick it up ASAP -- and don't read it; just trust that it's supportive. /dw/
INCLUDED A PICTURE OF A PUPPY!
I'll always remember Dave telling us on the first day of class that it will take him time to learn our names, but that once he has, he will remember who we are for the rest of his life. Longer than we remember him.
Dave, I can't imagine ever forgetting who you were. Likewise, I know that if you could read this post, you would laugh at my terrible grammar and poor use of punctuation.
His personal email began ocapmycap, a tribute to the poem by Walt Whitman.
O Captain My Captain
a poem by Walt Whitman
O Captain my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weathered every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.
O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up--for you the flag is flung for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribboned wreaths for you the shores a-crowding,
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head!
It is some dream that on the deck,
You've fallen cold and dead.
My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;
The ship is anchored safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;
Exult O shores, and ring O bells!
But I, with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.
I hope you've found your peace.