For Lisa

My dear friend Lisa Wolford Wylam died tragically on October 9th, 2011. This is from her memorial service:

 

For Lisa

I am here to praise my absent friend and to thank her.

Praise!

Lisa was deeply devoted to the art and artists whom she studied and supported. She had deep resolve and commitment and with these the courage to stand for her views fully and completely.

For someone so professionally successful she was delightfully and forcefully intolerant of careerist bullshit. At the same time, she was infinitely tolerant of her friends’ foibles and vanities.

She expressed both her devotion and her tolerance in her loyalty to her friends, which was ferocious. She extended to many of us here the honour of measuring her life and works using our modest contributions as a yardstick, placing us alongside the celebrated artists she had known. The Pole Stars about which her life revolved were both celestial and personal.

Thanks!

I’d like to thank Lisa for her friendship, for her kindness to me, for her encouragement of my work. She generously wrote the introduction to my book and thoroughly and thoughtfully reviewed the performances my colleagues and I created together. Her confidence remains a daily tonic for me.

I’d like to thank her for her meticulous writing and her exquisite English and for the happy hours I’ve spent with her in book form.

I’d like to thank her for our many, but far too few, extended, happy, over-specialized and totally-unintelligible-to-others conversations, the fruits of fifteen years of friendship.

One such conversation has been with me often these past weeks. Lisa and her good friend Kris Salata and I – Kris and I had just met – holed up her hotel room in Chicago. Lisa curled up comfortably on the bed and drank black tea while Kris and I got into a rambling and animated discussion over a bottle of red wine. The bottle turned into bottles and the three of us sent out for pizza. We talked until four in the morning. I will always remember Lisa’s quiet delight as she sat on the bed with her tea, her face radiant with the satisfaction of friendship.

I am so very sad she is gone, but it is a great honour and joy to see you all here for her. I hope that we are an assembly that would have delighted her just as she brought so much life to us.

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~ by Daniel Mroz on November 14, 2011.

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