I just learned today that a girl with whom I went to undergrad at Boston University has died. At 27, pharmacy she was briefly ill and that was it. In digging out my memories of her (they are few, we were simply classmates in the core art program of a large university), I am amused by the great sense of self-importance that fills the mind and fuels the debates of young art students. It seems so comical now the way I roundly abused this girl for painting a still life of a toilet without providing a reason, some meaning or purpose, that we should have to look at it. “Why?!”, I shouted, “why should we care?!” I was a quivering ball of contempt and sincerity. The others were mainly coolly talented, and relentlessly pretentious. But not Jackie, painter of toilets. She was scatterbrained and cool enough not to pay attention to anyone, and take art school on the chin.
The last time I saw her was about a year after graduation. She was leaving Boston, going to study graphic design, like me making the rounds of shitty jobs, dizzy and chatty like always on a sunny day in Kenmore Square. We said goodbye.