How long had you known Kyle?
Were you aware that he kept scores of notebooks in which to compose his poetry and other writings?
He didn't tell me about his writings until a couple years into our friendship, but I think the moment I became a part of them is when he told me about them. Last fall, after I returned from Colorado, was my first visit to the Mill Street house and the first time I actually saw the physical volume of his work though he’s always sent me a story here and there to edit; he always seemed to trust my opinion on his writing, but honestly I was usually just proofing his grammar. From early on I realized his works were special and unlike anything I've ever read.
You worked together on a short story inspired by Salinger, right? How’d that come about?
Kyle believed in me as a writer. I am really private about the things I write, mostly because they are the ramblings of the inner workings of my head, but I guess also because I am not confident in what I put on paper. I shared them with Kyle though; he was one of the very few I trust most. So anyway, last semester I was retaking creative writing and of course Kyle had to know about every assignment. I had a simple journal exercise that involved writing out a conversation between me and my favorite character; I shared that journal assignment in class and my professor really enjoyed the way I wrote the conversation with Seymour from “A Perfect Day for Bananafish,” by J.D. Salinger. My professor suggested this be the start of my short story assignment. I immediately called Kyle and told him about how I was going to attempt writing a story within another story. He had never read “Bananafish” so I loaned him the book Nine Stories. I worked on the story by myself and periodically sent Kyle the most recent version of it. He would add little edits here and there, but one evening he said he was bored and edited the entire story into his style of prose. For my final draft I mixed my final draft with Kyle's version. We had so much fun working on the story; we were planning to write a story together using the same basic idea, and plot line from my perspective and his perspective. I am really sad that didn't come to fruition; I think it would have been really great.
How did you find out he had died?
|Amanda and Kyle.|
Tell me about going to where he died and finding the notebook?
|A page from Kyle's notebook.|
The next night, all I could think about was that notebook. A bunch of my friends were at the Dryden Hotel. I went to them and asked if they would come with me. I assembled a group of five people all of which were Kyle's friends and we went to the Mill Street house. We all kind of dispersed; I think everyone wanted to pay their respects and say goodbye to Kyle. Two of my friends and myself went to where the house was and they helped me get down to the notebook with tiny cell phone lights. I grabbed the pages. My mind was clear this night. I felt almost brave like I was on a sacred mission. Upon grabbing the pages, we stayed awhile longer. We didn't really talk to each other much. I guess grief is really personal, so even feeling similar none of us knew what to say to each other. Many of us were in tears as we left. I had to dry out the pages as they were wet from rain the previous day, and once they were dry they were so fragile. A few of the pages fell to dust at the slightest touch. The ones that I salvaged though, I can't even describe the feeling. I remember at the memorial I heard more than one person say how sad it was all of his writing was gone, but knowing that not all of it was gone was almost a relief. These small fragments from the year 2010 somehow survived. I don't think any of the pages show a complete poem or short story, but some very raw and honest thoughts survived. I gave the pages to Meta and Kayla. I don’t really believe that the dream was actually Kyle, and I don't think I really could have avoided going back to the house forever.
|Celebrations on Amazon|
And you did, Amanda, thank you. And thank you for sharing some memories of Kyle with the rest of us. Deeply appreciated.