June 26, 2010

POSTSCRIPT: Steve Diedrich, 1951-2010

Chicago’s literary community has lost a true Bloomite: Steve Diedrich, age 59. I met Steve through a mutual friend, the writer Kevin Grandfield. Steve was kind enough to invite me for three different years to present a portion of “Ulysses” during the annual Bloomsday reading he organized at the Cliff Dwellers Club overlooking Grant Park and Lake Michigan. I cannot think of Steve without thinking of Bloomsday – and the sheer joy on Steve’s face while we all performed passages from the great novel. Sitting in a row of chairs behind the podium where the person reading stood before a room crowded elbow-to-elbow with James Joyce fans, Steve often closed his eyes and recited the reader’s passage, silently, from memory – as a sort of prayer. Artists never really know how many lives they touch and Steve’s life touched thousands. Thanks to Kevin and thanks very much to Steve, I’m a Bloomite and I glory in it. (Pictured left to right: Kevin Grandfield, Claudia Traudt, me, Steve Diedrich, Pat McCaughy, Mary Nell Murphy, Gene Smith, Robert Reidy. Thanks to Mary Nell Murphy for the photo.)


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