Friday, July 28, 2006

Heaven Help Us

Charlie Purpura. I knew him, Horatio. He was a teacher of mine at NYU. He co-taught my Screenwriting Master-Class. He wrote this movie I saw a million times as a kid. I was at Theatre Row last night and I had a talk with a writer named Rachel who's currently in the Dramatic Writing Program at Tisch, and she informed me that he died over a year ago!

University professors. You develop these temporary relationships with them and then you go off in your own ways. At least, that's been my experience. Even teachers who took special interest in your work. Once you're gone, you're gone.

Charlie was an old-school writer. Flippant and sarcastic. As small as the class was, he didn't really take notice of me till the second semester I had with him. He was a bit dismissive of all of us as snot-nosed kids who thought we could be writers... but he did come to value my perspective eventually. He wasn't the biggest fan of my writing, but he liked to hear what I had to say during the workshop process.

During graduation season, when it was all goodbyes, I remember he shook my hand with a sheepish (almost apologetic) smirk and just said,

"Hey, we had fun...!"

As if to imply, "No hard feelings..."

I liked Charlie. He could be a pain in the ass, but he was a good person once he got to know you. I don't know the circumstances of his death, but he was too young and it's a shame. I hope he had a good time.