I'm still here!
Hi readers - I haven't been posting, but I have been writing, still hoping to finish a book in my lifetime about my experiences and observations during my 24 years with Noam Chomsky. I do miss the office, but fortunately a lot of people still write me (or an older texts or email comes into view in a timely way), and these fixes help with my yearnings for the old days at Building Twenty and the Stata Center, and keep me going with my writing. They also spark my memory, filling in gaps in my stories.
Here are three examples.
1. A couple of weeks ago I was on vacation (actually, since I'm retired, I mean to say that Laura was on vacation, so we were enjoying two summer weeks together), when out of the blue this selfie text from Michel Gondry and Catherine Keener appeared on my phone, two people whose visits to our office I had been writing about over the previous month. I didn't know they knew one another...but apparently they figured out they had their experiences with Noam (and me) in common. I in fact I had some questions for Keener, the fabulous actor, activist, and human being, (it turns out she and I both put our beloved dogs down earlier this year, sadly), and we are in touch again.
I love to hear from the very talented, personality-rich Michel. Below is a drawing he did of Roxy and Noam, taken about a half dozen years ago on Halloween. The original is signed by both - Roxy (dressed as Wonder Woman) and Noam (dressed as himself), fighting crime together.
2. Ken and Elaine Hildebrandt - These folks are smart, struggling activists. I just noticed a message from Elaine a few days ago. Ken wrote a book called INFORMolution, which contains a lot of truths about our world. He and Elaine stole my heart - along with caring a lot about the plight of mankind, they have rescued and adopted, despite their own financial struggles, more than, I would guess, three dozen dogs, cats, and others, many of whom somehow found their way to their home and surrounding area, as if via a secret animal newsletter floating around in the ether. They lost Barney (a dog) a little while ago, and almost lost Chumlietta a few weeks ago, and despite the expense, they took her to the vet. Remembering that they named one of their dogs Piper at my suggestion (she was found drinking from a water pipe), I stopped my writing and put together a care package, which I'm about to mail. Salmon from Alaska (our recent trip), dog and cat treats, chewable heart worm tabs, a check for help with whatever is most urgent. By some act of the universe, Elaine had created a colorized photo of Roxy sitting on Noam's home office chair, and she sent it to us, by coincidence in late January, the same day our dear Roxy passed away.
3. My Sufi - Sufi Laghari - The visits to our office of this amazing human being were some of my most memorable, as the Sufi told me I was meant to be where I was - working with Professor Chomsky. I think most of us ask ourselves that question a couple of times a week - am I doing what I am meant to do? Is my work making a difference? I've written about it on my blog, and I've been editing the piece for my book. Last night Sufi's name popped up as a friend request from a couple of years ago on Fb, and now we're in touch again. Here is the robe he gave to Noam, hanging on the very old coat rack from our Building Twenty days.
Anyway - know that your notes and texts to me DO matter. I'll never forget my time with Noam, or at MIT in general. How can I forget when I'm writing about it every day. How does anyone write a book in under five years? Now I get why it takes so long.