Why do we write? As Glenn O’Brien wrote in his tribute to Theresa Duncan, “all writers know that feeling of esprit d’escalier” which is in essence that witty response you think of long after the conversation has ended. Happens to me all the time. We write because we know the stories we think of, those angelic bits of poetry we receive while driving, that line of dialog that pops up or something we feel strongly about will be forgotten in a heartbeat if we don’t get it down. The things we see, too, as we explore our world, our internet, our political landscape, our spiritual sides–all request a permanent place in the world. Along with the people we meet who shine, if ever so tragically.
I came across Theresa’s story last October in California Magazine. Her story still haunts me, almost one year later. Her The Wit of the Staircase blogsite continues to be a source of inspiration and prolific adventure, filling me with thoughts I hope to write down. O’Brien goes on to say “…and you can never second guess what it is to be haunted by ideas, by angels or demons or history or visions, be reality or imagination.”
I’ll leave you with a quote from one of Theresa’s articles:
“That’s what an artist is supposed to do. An artist is supposed to be a land-based astronaut. You’re supposed to be walking out in front of people, avant garde, reporting back, if you make it.”
We may never truly know why she never made it back. There are many stories to explore about her, there are many questions left unanswered. It is said she was at peace with her decision to end her life and I believe this. But we wonder still why she chose to take that wonderful eclectic voice from us, from those she inspired, and those she still inspires today.