Spalding Gray, 1941-2004

What most people probably already thought and feared has been confirmed – Spalding Gray, missing since January, has been confirmed dead from likely suicide. I’ve been a fan of his since seeing Swimming to Cambodia at the Plaza Theater in Atlanta in the 80’s. I’ve seen a number of his monologues, read his books and once got to meet him at a book signing. His work always reminded me a little of the radio program This American Life in that they share strengths and weaknesses. The strength is in deep, thorough, almost obsessive introspection and the weakness is in emotional distance. In some ways, I always found Gray’s emotional distance as a participant in his work, the thing unsaid that colored all the work.

He will be missed, and the world of arts and letters is diminished for his sad passing.