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BLOG: SWANS LAST DIVE (inactive) Please see my Crooked Mirror blog

A visit from Buster

Buster Simpson stayed last night on a too-rare visit to Los Angeles. Buster and his artist wife Laura (Sindell) are among our dearest friends. It was thanks to Buster, really, that Lloyd and I met... or met again.

Buster was my next door neighbor in an artists' tenement in Seattle, WA in the early 80's. We all shared garden space in the backyard. Buster did his wash on an old ringer washing machine. In downtown Seattle, he was known as the unofficial Mayor of Belltown, holding court over root pie at the Belltown Cafe. He was already known for his public art which explored ecological issues in then unheard of ways. He placed limestone discs (antacid tablets) into the Hudson River to neutralize the acid rain.

Our building, on Western Avenue just half a mile north of the PIke Place mkt, was originally built for the cannery workers. The back stairs were rickety but the view from my pantry was stunning-- Puget Sound, Myrtle Edwards Park. i could hear the blast of Princess Marguerite, the ferry to Alaska, at night when she docked. I was recovering from a severe car accident and a divorce, writing my first book (The Knowing Body).

Buster told me he was collaborating with a fellow artist named Lloyd Hamrol, on a public art competition in Port Townsend, WA. A benefactor, Ruth Seavey Jackson, had left her fortune to the city: "to create an art work that could be seen from the sea." (and if no artwork were chosen, the money would go to Guide Dogs of the Desert.)

I remembered Lloyd from student art days in Los Angeles. I told Buster I'd enjoy seeing him again. Lloyd and I met gazes on those rickety back stairs. The proverbial lightning bolt struck. Now it's twenty-six years and several cities later, and Buster our dear friend has come to spend the night at our house on Earl Street. in Los Angeles, after giving a talk.

Our Seattle Cupid.

Check out Buster's website:

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