March 26th, 2014 (Sprinter)

by Steven Townshend

The Pier in Winter
The Winter Pier


On Sunday I opened the shades and let the light stream in. I moved the stool aside and sat at the counter in a low chair and continued my painting project while listening to the music of the 00’s. Pete and the Pirates. The New Pornographers. Au Revoir Simone. The Black Keys. With the music on, the sunlight flooding the room, and the painting going better than expected, I sat there contentedly all day long and enjoyed every minute of it. 


This morning I learned that my friend Richard Matthew had passed away last week.

Richard was one of the few people I only know online. I met him several years ago through poet Dorianne Laux, and we became friends because I loved the music that he and his band, the Earthlings, used to record. Richard gave me MP3’s of their music, which I enjoy to this day. It’s instrumental music. Peaceful, contemplative–the way I perceived Richard himself.

The man knew music. He always had great recommendations, and he introduced me to Steeleye Span, a band I love. He was a cat-lover, a kind and gentle soul, and extremely supportive of me, though we had never actually met. I already miss him.


Next week the gears of the freelance project start moving. That’s going to keep me busy for months, but I’m getting excited about it. This will likely be my last week of free time, and I’m sad that my painting project won’t have reached completion. I’ll have to fit the remaining parts of that project in schedule gaps here and there when I can.


Elizabeth and I have been working our way through Monarchy, a documentary series about the kings and queens of England from the middle ages to the present. In combination with the excellent World War I book I’m reading, A World Undone, I’m getting an in-depth perspective on European history.


I learned last week that a piece of writing of which I was very proud–but received little notice when published–will be incorporated into something much more noticeable. I put a lot of work into that piece, but never expected anything better ever to come of it. I’m surprised and happy to learn that it was noticed by someone and is destined for greater things.