My best friend Tom Hart and his wonderful wife Leela Corman moved to Gainesville, Florida just a few months ago on a heroic mission to start a new comics school from scratch. Tom is probably the best comics teacher in America right now, so this was a truly momentous initiative.
But it was not just about the school– Tom, Leela and I spent an important chapter of our lives in Gainesville, and we were all in on the secret of what a magical little city it is. Tom and Leela were parents now: their daughter Rosalie Lightning was born in 2009 and now she’d grow up there, in a fantasyland of lizards, ponds, elder trees, curtains of moss, bicycles and the coolest community in the Southeast.
Tom and Leela and Rosalie scheduled a day-long going-away picnic in Prospect Park the weekend right before they moved. I was so looking forward to it. Vicissitudes of New York City survival had kept me away from their part of Brooklyn for months. Then the stupid hurricane developed and the picnic had to be cancelled so everyone could huddle up with supplies in Zones B and C. So incredibly frustrating, but then again, I envisioned many trips to Gainesville to talk at the school, sit on the porch with my friends, and watch Rosalie at play.
Now she is gone overnight, with no explanation that my mind can accept, as if Death can just wander around plucking children up as it pleases without concern for the rules of how life is supposed to go. My friends are in a horror world I don’t even know if I can understand, past some mountains and behind a veil; I want to touch them and protect them but there’s no way to do that.
Several of us in New York who love them fiercely decided yesterday to take up a fund raiser to help them with whatever they face next. Tom and Leela did not go on their mission with much treasure in tow; it was a shoe-string quest that in part relied on good fortune and help from friends. Now they have met the worst fortune, and though raising money might seem a meager response to what’s happened on a spiritual level, it will help. Please visit and share this link: