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March 28, 2011

High Praise, Indeed

I wonder if high praise is like high fructose corn syrup, meaning, too much of a good thing kills ya. Today is overcast and blustery, a good day for getting indoor stuff done. Like resume working on dispatches. Last night my biographer, Christopher Benson, sent me an email and pretty much told me that I’m on the right track with what I’m doing. High praise, indeed. He also said that he hadn’t seen any March dispatches posted, which is why I’m back at it again.

Christopher is my muse. In this respect, I’m blessed. I’m blessed. This isn’t a term that I bandy about lightly. Rather, I use it once every so often, kinda like the word awesome. I am blessed because he’s such good friend and a very astute critic. I can depend upon him to be honest and truthful when I share my work with him. We’re actually one another’s biographers.

Our being one another’s biographers used to be disconcerting because it implied that one or the other of us would have to die before the other took on the role. The thought of this made me feel sad, almost to the point of some days, being unable to work. Life without Christopher out there on the fringes would suck. An analogy here: Like travel, the hardest part about death is being left behind. But I recently had a cheering revelation, which is that we are both living biographers. Yes, there will be a day in which one or the other of us will have to tie up literary loose ends. But for now, our respective jobs (which are ongoing) fills us both with great joy. (I am taking the liberty of speaking for Christopher here, but so be it. If he was unhappy about being my biographer, he’d tell me so.)

Christopher is also my muse. I’ll often stop writing and ask him what he thinks about a word, phrase, or idea. His responses usually come fairly quickly, though sometimes he takes a few days to get back to me. I understand. He’s a busy guy with a lot going on. His voice, when I do hear it, rings loud and clear. It is distinctly New Jersey, with South Carolinian overtones.

We met at Cobleskill, during the first week of college. He ended up living with Carolyn, who lived in the dorm room adjacent to mine. I had some regrets about this, because he seemed like a good catch. He was smart, articulate, played the guitar. But I eventually realized that we would have been a poor match. We are a lot alike.. We’re both keepees who need keepers. Carolyn is his keeper, and Pete is my keeper. It’s that clichéd ying and yang thing. If we didn’t have these individuals in our lives, little of importance would get done. This might be because we’re both incredibly introspective. And so, without our respective partners, our partners, our inner lives would become our outer lives.

We get together when we can, which is far too seldom in my estimation. Alaska and South Carolina seem light years away. But Christopher is mulling over joining us for a bit on the trail this summer. I can hardly wait.