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September 09, 2012

Unfair Goodbyes

It usually takes me 15 seconds or less to know if I like a piece of art or music. I was explaining this to someone recently who was asking me about how to make a pitch to an editor ...

Folks have often asked me if more projects or lengthier pages to their queries might be the ticket to getting noticed. The fact is, editors know right away. At least that's been my experience. It might not even take 15 seconds. It's pretty immediate. If 100 projects or pages don't do the trick, most likely neither will the 101st project nor the 101st page.

Art either connects with me or it doesn't.

So my daughter Monica met up with her buddies recently, as they showered her with some belated birthday gifts. She has great friends. One of her friends, Louise, got her the new Regina Spektor CD, which made Monica really happy. So thanks to Louise and Monica, I started listening to it.

Regina Spektor
I liked the entire CD but there is one song in particular that I connected with very strongly and immediately ... probably in fewer than 15 seconds of hearing it. The song is How. I couldn't understand fully why I was connecting with it. It's a song that actually makes me very sad ... and as I listen to it, the melancholy of the song is so very deep that I can hardly bear it.

So I did some research on the song and learned that Regina wrote it in honor of the late Daniel Cho. Daniel was the cellist who was touring with Regina in 2010 when he tragically drowned in Lake Geneva. He was 33 years old. He was Korean American. He was a cellist.

I remember coming to America when I was 7. Lots of American kids thought it was odd that I didn't know how to swim. But the thing is, neither did most of my relatives and friends from Korea. I'm not completely sure about Koreans today but for my parents' generation and mine ... we came from a culture where we never really had the opportunity to learn. For those who did learn, it wasn't through Mommy & Me swimming lessons. It was accidentally and sometimes dangerously. This is also true of people from many other third-world nations.

I'm not sure if Daniel Cho didn't know how to swim or whether he was a good swimmer who just experienced a bad accident. But I do know that he drowned. At 33. So sad. I remember almost drowning. Scary as a child. And horrific as an adult I'm sure.

When his wife Julia learned of Daniel's death, she started this blog ... to cope, grieve, and to create memories for their daughter, Audrey. My heart goes out to them.

Learning about Daniel Cho triggered memories of Nejat Ezal, my sweet friend from high school with whom I had a deep connection. He was one year my junior and we kept in touch through letters when I went to UCI and he finished his senior year at West High. With perfect grades and a perfect score on his SATs, he had many options for college and he chose Harvey Mudd. We continued to correspond while he was at Harvey Mudd. And funny thing ... we ended up in the same room at Cal State Bakersfield as we were both taking the GREs for graduate school. He ended up at UC Santa Barbara to study Marine Biology. He loved the ocean and he loved to dive. He was one of the most brilliant, pure-hearted people I have ever known and loved. Everyone he met loved him. 

In 1994, Nejat passed away during a diving accident in his beloved ocean. He was 25. When I think of his untimely death, my heart goes out to his family and I remain in disbelief about it all ... and I miss him greatly.

So this song that gripped me in the first 15 seconds of hearing it ... is one that was written by the talented Regina Spektor to honor her friend Daniel who she misses so much. When I ponder this back story of this deeply melancholic song, I understand why I connected so much with it ... because there are so many layers that sensically and non-sensically connect with me ... including my longstanding difficulty with unfair goodbyes.


by Regina Spektor

How can I forget your love?

How can I never see you again?
There’s a time and place
For one more sweet embrace
And is time, ooh
when it all, ooh
Went wrong
I guess you know by now
That we will meet again somehow

Oh baby
How can I begin again?
How can I try to love someone new?
Someone who isn’t you
How can our love be true?
When I’m not, ooh
I’m not over you

I guess you know by now
That we will meet again somehow

Time can come and take away the pain
But I just want my memories to remain
To hear your voice
To see your face
There’s not one moment I’d erase
You are a guest here now

So baby
How can I forget your love?
How can I never see you again?
How can I ever know why some stay and others go?
When I don’t, ooh
I don’t want you to go

I guess I know by now
That we will meet again somehow

Time can come and wash away the pain
But I just want my mind to stay the same
To hear your voice
To see your face
There’s not one moment I’d erase
You are a guest here now

So baby
How can I forget your love?
How can I never see you again?


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What a beautiful song, Jenny, and a beautiful heartfelt post. It is always so sad when young friends die and leave this earth, we always miss them so. You are right, it's an unfair goodbye. xo Lidy

Your post reminds me of how sensory truly is~ How it reaches us, touches us and sometimes we never connect all the dots~

It is a beautiful song that reaches deep! It is sad, but we have to remember how much they touched us~ I think we all touch each other every day, but it isn't always noticed~

Thanks Jenny for touching me, with this sensitive post!

I hope Monica had a wonderful birthday~

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