There are about forty minutes left on the first anniversary of
Kit Carsson's death. Last February 4th she died from what
were probably complications of cancer, but since she refused
to be treated when she felt herself declining again, we'll not
know for sure.
Kit was not only a dear friend of mine. She was the collaborator
who except for Michael Maggio had the largest influence in
pushing me into trying theater. She directed my second produced
play, Sleepwalker, in a basement. It became my most produced
play, and she even led one in Berkeley.
For a while we had a theater company called Marlowe's Swan,
maybe the most obscure company of what was the Golden
Age of Chicago Store Front Theater before Curious Theater
Branch moved to the Lunar Cabaret, back when Paula Killen
seemed to have a new one woman show every week and
Theater Oobleck was mounting the impossibly inventive and
moving plays of Mickle Maher such as The Hunchback Variations.
Kit never directed another play of mine. She did a wonderful
Hapgood, which I consider the ideal Stoppard production. She
explained to me that a double agent works for both sides - cold
war still barely on, you know - and who prospers from her
information has to do with which side uses her more deftly, not
with where her deepest loyalty supposedly lies.
Everything she directed now is lost in the tangles of a very
few people's memory and in several capsule reviews in weekly
papers she had long since given up sending out.
All that's left is a blog she wrote for a single person - and
for me too I suppose, since she did show it to me - but which
she never showed to that person. Kit died of a broken heart.
I really believe that. Not long before she died she told me
that she had a dream in which her face was buried in a
snowbank. She remembers a voice, probably her own, saying,
"If you don't lift your head, you're going to die."
I think she made the decision to NOT lift her head.
Kit felt she was born 15 or so years too early, and that when
she got sick enough to need home nursing, she met
her soulmate, only to find the difference between them
was a little too much to be overcome. As long as Rachel
was there, Kit was happy: she didn't really need romance;
she just needed Rachel around. But when Kit got well
enough to not need a nurse anymore, Rachel left. Kit
did fine for a few years, and she started a blog - to Rachel.
She did not publicize it, and she never showed it to Rachel.
She showed it only to me for my feedback on how to improve
her poems. With Rachel gradually passing out of her life all
together. Kit used to say to me, she always hoped as long as
she lived that Rachel would think of her at least one more time.
At her death she left it up to me whether to leave her
blog up. I took over the administration of it and left
it up, posting one more of her poems she wrote near
her death. I do not have the heart to take it down.
I feel it is less a collection of love poems, than a novel,
mainly in verse, charting one sensitive woman's unbearably
painful love for another. I wish there were a button for
blogspot which you could push and reverse the order of
the posts. I would read them from her first to her last,
but if you choose to read them, read them in whatever order
One final note:
As far as I know, Rachel, Kit's beloved has never
read these posts or even knows about them. I don't
know if she ever guessed Kit's feelings for her. She
called me one afternoon to tell me she felt perhaps
she had said too much to Rachel, and Rachel wouldn't
be back. From what Kit told me, it wasn't clear that
she had. If she had ever showed Rachel this blog,
it would have all been clear, but she never did.
Here it is:
Rachel is Gone