I met Eric Williamson in Boulder, Colorado in 1984. We were in our early twenties and we both taught Introductory Creative Writing at the University of Colorado. We hung out in the same circles and joined other like-minded souls in late-night debates about literature and writing and philosophy and the meaning of life. Possessing a sense of unearned arrogance that comes naturally to graduate students in their early twenties, we looked forward to destinies of pre-ordained glory and success. Then we got older. Eric moved on to Houston and then Manhattan and eventually a town on the Mexican border. I moved to Syracuse and then Japan and eventually to Michigan. We would see each other from time to time in various parts of the world, but the true cement of our friendship came through our regular written correspondence. Through the years our swagger and self-importance met up with the tempering forces of actual life. Hope went to war against the realities of failed relationships and miserable jobs and poverty and alcohol and instability and despair. Getting a letter from Eric was always a momentous event. I remember delaying the gratification for hours, unsealing the envelope only when I knew I had an hour to read it and then re-read it, indulging his excessive observations and outrageous exaggerations set beside the anguished howls of genuine pain.
You will never read anything like this again.
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