Story Telling with Craig
Craig and i lived together at Paradox in the late 1980s. This sprawling group house was in the Castro district of San Francisco. While we were not close, we were certainly friendly. We shared a razor, which would not be a big deal, except that Craig is HIV positive.
Before you start ranting about how crazy this behavior is, remember what San Francisco was like at this time. HIV was a death sentence then and the Castro was the center of the epidemic. Which means we knew more about AIDS then than most people do even today. We knew the virus died in 90 seconds at room temperature.
Craig’s first story tonight was in part about passing trucks on the curve. It is not so much about a reckless style of living as it is embracing the idea that if the odds are against you then you make sure there is a lot of life during your days. Long before he got HIV from a blood transfusion, Craig was supposed to die of hemophilia. Turns out he is good at not dying on schedule. His first story got me choked up. Craig is far more personally daring as a story teller than i am.
And he is much darker. It turned out to be quite a good balance with us alternating tales. My stuff tends to be upbeat, hopeful or funny. Craig’s stuff tends to be heavy, somber and deep. He told stories about trapped chimps on tiger ranches. I told radical fairytales of feisty princesses and juggling paupers. Craig told inspiring stories of his daughter’s struggle looking at two parents who were supposed to die. i balanced with a number of Willowisms.
i definitely felt my skills sharpen listening to Craig. His prose is rich and descriptive, his timing more polished than mine. The audience seemed engaged and pleased. We’ll do it again when i come back through, perhaps on a bigger stage than the co-housing common room.
You can find more of Craig’s stories on his blog.