Fan Writings

The Fan Writings page is dedicated to essay, speculative/fan fiction, and other writing based upon or inspired by Spalding Gray. Authors maintain sole copyright. All writings used here with permission. For poetry, see the Poetry page. Use Contact page for submission.

Spalding Gray, Sit Down Comedian
By Ryan Walsh - Published: February 6, 2013 - from the ArtsEmerson Blog
by Shelton Hull - Review : Journals of Spalding Gray
Rob Barker - A fan from England with an interesting website about his programme that includes material about story telling.
Julie K. Hersh's website and blog - excellent writing about a personal recovery from depression.
Using Myself to Play Myself: Exploring the Lines of Reality in Creative Nonfiction and Autobiographical Fiction
A Thesis by Andrew Samson
Nebraska Wesleyan University
Columbi Bueno is doing a very interesting writing execise on his blog:
"a random photo with a poem made up of random words taken from a random book.
I will then write a short blurb about what the exercise has elicited in me.
Let's see how this synchronicity works."
The Spalding one comes from Gray's Anatomy :

odd cradling parties –
no lonely anatomy
with alcohol

You survived a fourth
opinion: the lame shall walk.
Then they speculate

over your bed, stuff
the recommended program,
go outside and bet.

(Words picked at random from Gray’s Anatomy by Spalding Gray.)

I wonder about all those iffy diagnoses.

Copyright 2012 by Columbi Bueno
From Renee Ronika Klug's blog : What Spalding Gray Didn't Teach Me: On Finding My Voice
- the process of healing from a Christian perspective
Lilliput Hats Toronto - a very cool hat store in Toronto whose rescue cat is named Spalding Gray
- Karyn Gringras is a world renowned designer and a huge fan of BOTH Spaldings...

© By Karyn Gingras - Lilliput Hats

The Ghost of Spalding Gray from the Blog of Brett Myers
- the very interesting thing is that the blog has random pictures as the header when opened.
When I (jb, the webmanager of opened it, the picture was a bird, and birds have been associated by Spalding and others with death and post death peace...
Brett writes to me: "What makes it even better is that the bird in the header for you was serendipitous. I have a set of photos that randomly appear on any given page…"

This is referred to a "Spaldingish experience"
Variations for Orchestra on "The Song Of Arion" by Mark Piszczek
Dedicated to writer, monologist and actor, Spalding Gray
3 Brief Encounters with Spalding Gray by RUBEN CARBAJAL

Zen Moments - a Perfect Moment

by Cheryl Catherine Smith
Hollowgram - her musical group

Please And Thank You: The Best Films Of 2010 ('Fine' makes it!) - by Paul Matwychuk
A review of 'Fine' watched on IFC ON Demand by Ardent Henry on his blog
And Everything is Going Fine by Jackrabbit Slim
Oral Philosophers Part III: Spalding Gray by Ross M. Miller - interesting if slightly flawed (ITA was fantastic)
and really just BSP for their biz site
Synastry : Celebrities You Love - an insightful look at aspects of Spalding's astrological chart
The Early Daze, Part 19 by Dadler
- briefly about Spalding, this is a painful personal story of the impact of child abuse
The Early Days, Part 20
- a continuation where his monologue is performed - well written
rock nyc - music live & recorded - music live & recorded - contains possible video spoiler of end of And Everything is Going Fine and contains pop up ad
from blog, a comment by Bob Jenkins, worth repeating:

The astonishing Spalding Gray. I caught his one-man show at the Performance Garage in New York in the late 70s.
He was doing a long biographical tale about his mother’s suicide.
Toward the end, an old fashioned slide of his mother was projected on the back wall.
Spalding walked over to it as if talking to his deceased mother.
Then, he walked into the projection and became the screen.
The mother-image was sized exactly to Spalding’s size, so it totally fit hi, encompassed him.
The image light was so strong that it washed out Spalding details, his clothes, his face. He/she looked at us in the audience,
He/she began to speak . . . in his mother’s voice.
He had invoked her presence and become her, right in front of our eyes.
That was one of the most stunning moments I have ever experienced in the theatre. I have never forgotten it.
I am so glad others remember Spalding. Spalding Gray.
New York Stories : Meeting Spalding Gray by Stephen Altobello
and Part2 (both are excellent,worth reading by this friend of this site)...
and Stephen's website
Swimming Against the Narrative(s) by Matt Kay
Emily Arin (singer) Waltz for Spalding Gray - youtube live video
The album can be ordered by scrolling a little ways down on her homepage

Here are the lyrics (copyrighted by Emily Arin - used with permission - song now on CD):

Waltz for Spalding Gray by Emily Arin

Spalding Gray can't dance anymore
His foot went numb on the floor
As the furies taunted his broken brain

He sat on stage wondering about the war
Won't you tell me what's it really for
And the Houston crowd thought him insane

Yelling, "We came out for a night of theater,
Not to see a man losing his mind."
And he sat there in silence
Thinking thoughts of suicide

If all the world's a stage
And this day is just a page in the book
Then where does all the rage go?
And the hunger and the sorrow?
I can't wait ''til tomorrow to dive in
To the cold, black water of Staten Island

This is a waltz for Spalding Gray
Who should be dancing with us today
But the furies called him into the bay

Did you hear about the fish they found
Wearing a purple scarf swimming around
The fiery gold Cambodian shores
The fishermen went wild and finally bound
Him in a net and were getting ready to pound his head
When the fish said, "I'm not yours..."

See I belong to the ocean
Where the furies set me free
Now my monologue's devotion is
To the beauty of the wild and longing sea."

Spalding Gray can't dance anymore
His foot went numb on the floor
As the furies taunted his broken brain

He sat on stage wondering about the war
Won't you tell me what's it really for
And the Houston crowd thought him insane

Yelling, "We came out for a night of theater,
Not to see a man losing his mind."
And he sat there in silence
Thinking thoughts of suicide

If all the world's a stage
And this day is just a page in the book
Then where does all the rage go?
And the hunger and the sorrow?
I can't wait ''til tomorrow to dive in
To the cold, black water of Staten Island

This is a waltz for Spalding Gray
Who should be dancing with us today
But the furies called him into the bay
From a fan who wishes to remain anonymous:
I ran into Spalding in a health food store in Chicago in 93. I asked if he was him, he said yes, appeared annoyed to be asked that, and I rang up his stuff silently and ignored him when he thanked me for his receipt [surly young hipster cashier type back then]. He came in again a few days later when I was at the juice bar, where he got in line again [he was performing at the Goodman Theater down the street?no other choices for health food stores around there then]. A bird flew in while he was there, and I had to corral it and get it back out again. He made eye contact with me after this and said [a bit melodramatically, I thought] “That means someone is going to die.” I didn’t respond, and that was it. I suppose he must have ordered something. A year or so later a friend of mine in Ann Arbor was working at a Borders, where he spotted Spalding in line. He told him my version of the story, and Spalding explained that it had been a reference to the bird that he had associated with his mother’s death, a story which appeared in one of the early monologues.
Graduate Faculty of Texas Tech University
May, 1989
Swimming to collision on Scotts
Slights, insults and snarky remarks -- she collects them
by Lisa Kogan from
Though this article I’m off to the World Cup. I’ve updated my will only mentions Spalding briefly
and even if you are not into soccer, it is very well written. By Frank Skinner for the Sunday Times, London
- and perhaps the best review of And Everything is Going Fine,
by Nicole Fairbairn, best of them all because this one is Inspiration!
Perfect Moments (of the Spalding Gray variety) by Kristen Buckley
Four Encounters with Spalding Gray by Frank G. Ondrey, MD

The Convergence of Psychoanalysis and Drama : Spalding Gray’s Monster in a Box
by Dilek ÖZTÜRK- Master's degree Student in the Department of English Literature,
Bogazici university, İSTANBUL/TURKEY.
First Honors Student of the Department of English Literature, Ankara University, ANKARA/TURKEY
Strictly copyrighted by the Author
an excellent blog by David Rodwin about the month he spent being mentored by Spalding at The Atlantic Center for the Arts in 2002, Spalding & Me
The Bar of Magic History by Eric Schweinhagen

Perfect Moments (of the Spalding Gray variety) by Kristen Buckley
Shannon Woolfe writes The Perfect Moment
(I like this one...)
erica m. szuplat writes weekly old-school feature #7
Gary Miller writes:
i still keep a twinkle in my eye when i remember him,
when he performed in anchorage for our north theater,
my wife and i were there to take tickets and he walked in, and said,
who's playing, and we said YOU. he smiled.
that night he did his interview piece,
and we learned more about the people he talked with than we had ever known,
even tho we did know those people.... he was something.
a true therapist...

Toad writes Spalding Gray RIP

The House sit and Spalding Gray by Laura Gillo

Spalding and Me by Joy Mars

A bird in the house isn't worth the trouble by Karen Orloff

William "Wild Bill" Taylor
The Gringo Angel
Canteens and hand gernades by Bill Taylor
Alien Autopsy by Bill Taylor

Dazza Borang
- All Time Hero = Spalding Gray

Robert Babington - You Are What You Do
ari g writes all cats are spalding gray

Paul Mathers - Books That Changed My Life

Jessica Ferris's blogariffic boggity weblog - That facebook thingy about books.
Gene Epstein – Fact & Fiction
A literary / photographic journal - Spalding

From May Voirrey : her Blog post:
From Amanda Goode:
My husband Charles & I are long-time fans of Spalding who essentially "fell in love" amidst a lengthy, ongoing discussion of "Swimming to Cambodia"...we married less than a year after meeting, in June of 1988. In the fall of 1989 we stumbled across Spalding, standing alone in the middle of several hundred thousand people in D.C. during a march for the homeless. We, of course, made total idiots of ourselves trying to express our gratitude and ever after considered the coincidence a sign that the 1400 mile drive in our Oldsmobile with a failing alternator had been worth every harrowing moment. A couple years later we got lucky again when we saw Spalding perform "Monster in a Box" in Houston after finding out about the performance the day before and scoring two unclaimed tickets at the box office just before the performance began. The last time we saw Spalding was in March of 2003, on the very day Bush had begun bombing Iraq. He was "Interviewing the Audience" in Houston of all within moments the topic came up and caused a handful Bush supporters to storm out...the rest of us stayed and enjoyed a lovely evening...though it was apparent to us then that Spalding had been much changed by his injuries. The day we learned of Spalding's disappearance was also a very tragic day in our which I will not describe here and now...suffice it to say that it was several months later before our own lives had returned to a normal enough state for us to contend with the magnitude of his loss. In October 2004, Charles & I learned we were pregnant with our second child...a wonderful surprise considering it had taken us 3 years of trying to have our first son Mac. In November I had an intensely vivid dream in which a glowing, youthful Spalding was helping Charles and I pack up a yellow Volkswagon bus for a long trip. Then, while reading the final edition of the Sunday New York Times for 2004, we learned for the very first time that our wedding anniversary...June 5th...was also Spalding's birthday...on that day we decided that our new baby would have to be named Gray Goode. We have kept Spalding in our hearts and minds for 22 years now...and tonight...while searching for videos of Buddhist teachings online...we googled the words "Buddhist Video Teachings" and up popped a reference to the film "Visions of a Perfect World" ...with a note about the segment from Spalding... I don't presume to know what any of this means ...but I wanted you...and anyone else who loved Spalding to know that this magical connection we have felt with him has meant the world to us. Gray Skylar Goode was born on May 26, 2005 beneath a sky completely blanketed in low gray clouds...

Martin G. Wood - an excellent introduction/review of Sex and Death (SAD)

A comic book script in memory of Spalding

(Copyright by Stephanie Augello)

Reflections on DFW and Spalding Gray

by ang

Balding Grey

by chiefjoe

Searching for Spalding

by Rob Stafford of the Huffington Post

Be Here Now

by Mike

Blood Sugar, Snacks, Magic: A Short Biography of Spalding, the Most Expensive Free Cat Ever (Excellent)

by Derek Gentry - his novel Here Comes Your Man is available on Amazon and elsewhere

Greece 2000 - Perfect Moments

by listenhear

Spalding Gray:Monologues on Film

by Teddy Blanks

A Spectrum of Gray (interesting story)

by Danny Evarts

Spalding and the Art of Story Telling

by Tim on 360 Degree Self blog

Microphones and Mirrors

by Justin Penza

a gray day (Russ Smith - for Spalding's 68th birthday)

there was a day when I spoke to a man
his name was a cloud
that coloured my mind
his wit
and charm
took me on a journey
where thought and feeling
became siblings
supporting and loving discovery
where challenge was ease
and fascination was our waking breath

on this day,
he twisted an idea
into a butterfly
as if it was made of skinny balloons
at a divine birthday party
and like himself
this clever craft flew off
leaving us with
a sweet memory
of life itself
just like this man
named gray.

russ c. smith

Spalding Gray, still telling stories

by Hugh Graham

A Note from Elizabeth Cunha: (Thank you Elizabeth)
I am not exactly sure who to address this letter to...I am a grad student
at Rhode Island College and my professor has required us to read Swimming to Cambodia and Morning, Noon and Night.
Our final projects are to write a 30 minute autobiographical performance piece. I have read and reread the pages
in the hopes of gaining a clearer perspective on such an extraordinary man, yet I must confess, I am sometimes left confused by his words.
I think I am drawn to his writings, in part, because I married a man from Barrington, Rhode Island and it makes my heart flutter a little
when Spalding references something from our home town, like when he lead his younger brother Channing out into the middle of Rumstick Road.
As a mother I understood the jealousy factor, I see it everyday in my own children, but I also felt the fear in my throat
because of the severity of the action; the consequence that could have followed had his mother not rescued Channing.
The other reason I believe I am so drawn to these pieces is because of how broken I felt reading his words.
The gentle ache I felt when he would write about feeling paranoid or anxious. It amazed me that a person would get so "naked" with their feelings
and be truly honest about how they felt in any given situation. It inspired me to not be afraid of what I write, because truth is universal,
at one time or another, someone somewhere has felt the exact same way. It is what connects the human beings to one another,
even though more often then not we will deny that we have ever had those thoughts or insecurities that Spalding speaks off.
I guess maybe I am writing this letter to say how sorry I am that he left this world so soon.  I hope that those he loved are somehow at peace.
I know that as a mother of four who struggles with my husband's reoccurring bouts of cancer, it has been difficult to find a sustaining peace.
Please if you can, tell them this for me.... he still inspires... he inspired me. I think maybe its okay that I tell the truth of what life has been like for the past eight years...
maybe I have an opportunity to touch the souls of others as he has touched mine.
Thank you.

Death, Flight and Spalding Gray

by Beth Mann

from Live Journal by muinteor:

Sad old news...


Adventures in Madness

by Mindless (blog) - a supporter of this site

Spalding Gray is Alive & Well and Living in the Village

by Mary for Newbie NYC (Excellent Blog)

by Cameron Kelsall:

Spalding Gray: Stories Left to Tell

by rimkuss on Live Journal:

Saw some deep, confusing stuff

by Steve:

by: A.F. Waddell

Spalding Gray: Stories Left To Tell

By Alasdair Satchel:  

Memories of NYC & Spalding Gray (excellent)

By Author Jawahara Saidullah:

from: (excellent)

More about author Jawahara Saidullah: (provided by the Author)

My bio:
Born and brought up in the hot, dusty plains of Uttar Pradesh, Jawhara Saidullah credits her love of writing to too-frequent power cuts and no television.
With a Master’s degree in Communications, Jawahara currently works as a computer book editor
though she has been a college instructor and a technical writer in other incarnations.
Her work has appeared in several publications, including the recent Seal Press anthology, Voices of Resistance.
She was a weekly columnist for Mid-Day in Mumbai and is a regular columnist for Jawahara divides her time between Boston and Geneva with her husband and a very spoilt dog named Naina.

My book on the Publisher's page:
Where US readers can buy the book:
Blog entries about the book:

From and written by Cheryl Catherine Smith:

Excellent reading. Thank you Cheryl. Please visit Cheryl at:

Complete Writings/Interviews on Spalding by Mary Colurso, Birmingham News: (lengthy,excellent):

By Mary Colurso News Staff Writer
Source: Birmingham News
Tuesday,February 20, 2001
Edition: Volume 113 Issue 295, Section: Sports, Page 01-E
Spalding Gray sits at a table and talks for an hour or two.
That's it.
That's what he does.
That's all he does in his new show, Morning, Noon and Night.
In fact, that's the way he has created and performed 18 monologues that have brought him fame, and some fortune, in America's entertainment world.
Gray may never become a ubiquitous household name, but this 59-year-old writer and actor has earned respect in high places and an Obie Award - not to mention numerous prestigious fellowships - for his autobiographical theater works.
When the curtain goes up, Gray tells stories about his life, piecing anecdotes and ideas into freeflowing soliloquies that are crammed with anxiety, intelligence and humor.
Fans in Alabama are waiting to hear him do just that on Saturday night at Birmingham's Alys Stephens Center, where Gray will appear as part of the center's Young Patrons series.
"Monologues, to me, are like grand letters to friends," Gray says during a telephone interview. "This latest one is a love letter to my family."
Morning, Noon and Night, on his agenda for Saturday, relates the events in his life during one average day in Sag Harbor, Long Island, outside of New York City.
It's the story of Gray's relationship with his family - his partner, Kathie, a talent agent; her daughter Marissa, a precocious preteen "drama queen"; and Kathie and Spalding's two sons, elementary-schooler Forrest and baby Theo.
It's also the story of Gray's relationship with Sag Harbor, a town of rippling flags, white church spires and ivy-covered graveyards - a sleepy haven compared to his former home, a loft perched above the grimy streets and avant-garde hustle-bustle of lower Manhattan.
Finally, it's the story of Gray's obsession with a metaphysical topic that has obsessed him for years - the inevitability of death. As he nears 60, this artist is facing his mortality, contemplating a mysterious void that seems closer than ever before.
"I'm not ashamed to say that death is king for me, for my personal Spalding Gray ego," Gray says. "All of my monologues have the death factor. People think it's a bummer. Even when my life has become harmonious, death is still on my mind. But at the end of this monologue, I have a conversation with the disembodied voice of death, and it tells me to stop worrying so much. To enjoy life and love my family." Role in 'Killing Fields' This sounds like a much tamer, more settled Gray than admirers have come to know in monologues such Swimming to Cambodia, which detailed his offkilter adventures in Thailand, on location as an actor in the movie The Killing Fields.
Magic mushrooms, giggling prostitutes, the legacy of the Vietnam War and fights with his former girl friend, Renee, all loomed large in this story, which won an Obie, the off-Broadway equivalent of a Tony Award. Swimming to Cambodia was so successful, it was turned into a film, a book and an audiobook.
In many ways, this 1985-87 monologue served as a launching pad for those to follow, including Monster in a Box, Gray's Anatomy, Terrors of Pleasure and It's a Slippery Slope.
"Spalding usually takes his greatest fears and turns Gray, Page 3E 1E them into funny or profound thoughts," says Paul Spencer, the artistic consultant who helps Gray shape his material. "He's telling some very personal things."
From his public perch, Gray has examined the writer's block that stymied him when trying to finish a novel, an illness that caused him to lose much of the sight in his left eye, his disastrous purchase of a run-down cabin in upstate New York and his painful breakup with Renee, a longtime paramour (later his wife) who had no idea he'd fathered a child with Kathie.
Extreme honesty has always been a policy for Gray, who insists that all the events he recounts really happened, although time periods have been juggled, anecdotes compressed, his words laced with a touch of hyperbole.
"Oh, it's all true," he says, "but it's not everything. Obviously, I couldn't get my whole life into an hour and 40 minutes on stage."
Tension and complexity is built into the deceptively simple monologues, he says, because storylines always take place several years in his past. Morning, Noon and Night, for instance, is set in 1997. Yet during each performance, Gray must relive the tale as if it happened yesterday.
"The thing is, Spalding is hatching his next monologue when you're talking to him," Spencer says. "What he's saying on stage may not be what's really moving him at that point in his life."
People who have never seen Spalding Gray perform may wonder how one gray-haired man, sleeves rolled up on a flannel shirt, can hold a crowd's attention for so long. His props are few, after all - usually a stack of index cards and a glass of water at his side.
Gray will tell you that, like on any other night at the theater, the key to holding an audience in his thrall is good acting. However, his friend Spencer can come up with another explanation.
"Spalding's not at all a prima donna," he says. "His show is not about being obscure, obtuse or clever. It's not something that's over people's heads. And while his monologue may seem to put him in an odd situation, his feelings tend to be universal. He's out there, naked."
Spalding Gray's resume includes:
Morning, Noon and Night (monologue, book, audiobook)
It's a Slippery Slope (monologue, book, audiobook,)
Gray's Anatomy (monologue, book, movie, video)
Monster in a Box (monologue, book, movie, video, audiobook)
Terrors of Pleasure (monologue, audiobook, HBO special)
Swimming to Cambodia (monologue, book, movie, video)
Sex and Death to the Age 14, (monologue, book, audiobook)
Impossible Vacation (book)
In Search of the Monkey Girl (book)
Orchards (book)
Booze, Cars and College Girls (monologue)
A Personal History of the American Theater (monologue)
First Words (segment from Monster in a Box on spoken-word compilation)
As an actor in supporting roles, he has appeared in films such as The Killing Fields, King of the Hill, Beaches, Beyond Rangoon, Coming Soon, Diabolique, The Paper, The Pickle, Straight Talk, Clara's Heart, Stars and Bars, Bad Company, Heavy Petting, True Stories, The Farmer's Daughter
His theater work in New York includes Thornton Wilder's Our Town (which later became a PBS special on Great Performances), Sam Shepard's Tooth of Crime, Gore Vidal's The Best Man and an autobiographical trilogy, Three Places in Rhode Island.
On television, he had a recurring role as a therapist on The Nanny and appeared on an episode of Spenser: For Hire.

(Note from Webmaster - Above list is incomplete - see Appearances on this site for most complete list available).

Photo Caption:
PHOTO: Spalding Gray's name usually comes up when anyone mentions monologues in the theater community - so much so that playwright August Wilson says he has considered doing a one-man show called I'm Not Spalding Gray.

By Mary Colurso News Staff Writer
Source: Birmingham News
Monday,February 26, 2001
Edition: Volume 113 Issue 300, Section: Lifestyle, Page 02-A
We can't crawl directly into another person's brain, as the characters did in the movie Being John Malkovich. But listening to one of Spalding Gray's monologues is the next best thing.
Gray, a 59-year-old writer and actor, offers an entrance to his psyche with his latest talkfest, Morning, Noon and Night. He performed this engaging theater piece Saturday at Birmingham's Alys Stephens Center.
The auditorium was far from packed; this was Gray's first time here and he lacked the pull of a major household name. However, fans and firsttimers who attended were amply rewarded.
Gray's 105-minute confessional tale, drawn from his family life in Sag Harbor, Long Island, combined personal anecdotes with universal themes in a masterful way.
Gray should know what he's doing; this is his 18th autobiographical monologue. He developed his stage style - ironic, wry, self-deprecating - long ago and perfected it with the award-winning Swimming to Cambodia in the mid-1980s.
That tale, mostly set in Thailand, was filled with heady politics, sexual exotica and drug-induced angst as Gray recalled being on location for the filming of The Killing Fields.
This time, he's relating the domestic events of a single day in 1997. Those concerned are Gray's partner, Kathie, a talent agent; her daughter, Marissa, a preteen drama queen; and Spalding and Kathie's sons, precocious kindergartner Forrest and blissful baby Theo.
Sound boring? Not a bit of it.
Although Gray has settled down some and tamed his wild ways, his imagination still soars in flights of fancy. He places marvelous oddball twists on events millions take for granted: hustling the kids to school, zipping along on a bike ride, slogging to the video store, trading barbs at the dinner table.
Gray single-handedly evokes the mindless cacophony a contemporary family produces, then switches to a metaphysical mode, gloomily pondering his mortality. Yet when the void looms too large, he manages to cross over to find a few precious moments of joy.
On Saturday, as always, Gray's enunciation and timing were priceless. Phrases such as "unpredictable rogue asteroids" rolled off his tongue like Shakespearean sonnets, endowed with complex humor and multiple shades of meaning.
*** SPALDING GRAY Alys Stephens Center Young Patrons series Saturday night

By Mary Colurso, News Columnist
Source: Birmingham News
Friday,February 6, 2004
Edition: Volume 116 Issue 283, Section: Lifestyle, Page 15-G
I am hoping he's in an ashram somewhere - meditating on life, obsessing about sex, planning the next time he'll put on a flannel shirt and talk to us.
I am wishing that this - an absence of 28 days - means he's run off with a theater groupie, is hiding out in a cabin in the Catskills, or is having a moment too perfect to disturb in Thailand.
But not dead. Not a suicide from the deck of the Staten Island ferry.
Not Spalding Gray, the neurotic and brilliant performance artist and actor.
Let me state for the record that I don't know this unusual man. But I feel as if I do.
That was - is - Gray's genius. He has the ability to make complete strangers feel like intimates, simply by telling them odd, memorable, extremely well-written personal stories.
I am sure that whenever the end comes for Gray, works such as "Swimming to Cambodia," "Monster in a Box," "It's a Slippery Slope" and "Terrors of Pleasure" will form an enduring legacy, captured as they are on films and audio recordings. (Print doesn't do justice to his words, which require the presence of his unique voice - prim and WASPish, intellectual and eccentric.)
I am not sure, however, exactly what we'll know about his disappearance as you read this. Perhaps the mystery will be solved by then, but as of Wednesday afternoon, Gray, 62, was still missing.
By the way, I know this is supposed to be a music column. Sue me, OK? Or simply cut me a thematic break this week.
Let others discuss the details of Janet Jackson's breast-baring escapade at Sunday's Super Bowl half-time show. The lack of an appropriate undergarment on national television seems like such a trivial matter when compared to the lack of Spalding.
He was reported missing on Jan. 11 by his wife, talent agent Kathie Russo, who holds out little hope that Gray will be found alive.
"I feel in my heart that he has died," she says in an extensive article recently published in New York magazine. "I'm trying to accept it now."
More than most of us, Gray has always seemed to be stalked by death, and his monologues acknowledge the grinning skull that has occupied his thoughts since childhood and occasionally obsessed him.
"Death is king for me, for my personal Spalding Gray ego," he told me in February 2001, before a performance of "Morning, Noon and Night" at Birmingham's Alys Stephens Center. "I'm not ashamed to say it. Even when my life has become harmonious, death is still on my mind."
But his autobiographical musings have never ended on a tragic note, as Gray laughed at his own morbidity, made temporary peace with his demons or tentatively embraced joy.
From what I can tell, joy has been far from him in recent years, as Gray struggled to recover from severe injuries he received in a car crash in Ireland in June 2001. He had suffered from depression in the past, but it became worse after the accident, in which his skull was fractured, and his hip and right leg badly broken.
Family and friends have described his physical and mental pain as enormous. Russo said Gray made several suicide attempts - at one point, police had to talk him down from a bridge connecting Sag Harbor and North Haven on Long Island - and Gray warned her that he was contemplating a leap from the deck of the Staten Island ferry.
But after so much anguish, Gray appeared to be healing in the months before his disappearance. He had even begun to work again, although erratically and slowly, and had scheduled performances this year of "Life Interrupted," a monologue in progress about the accident and its aftermath.
Now that title sounds especially chilling, and if Russo is correct, may prove to be Gray's epitaph.
You may think I'm silly to worry about someone I've never actually met - a few professional phone conversations at different newspapers over the past 15 years don't count as an actual relationship - but I do have a long-standing relationship with Gray's excellent and highly confessional work.
Like thousands of other fans who've cherished his voice in their ears, I believe I'm entitled to fret about his well being on that basis.
I even feel guilty for saying that Gray's "Morning, Noon and Night" monologue, which held descriptions of domestic bliss, was less interesting than previous pieces because of a lack of dramatic strife. It was too soft, I thought, and not nearly wild enough.
But this latest development is too hard, and much too wild.
As I offer up a prayer for Spalding Gray, I also will tell you about an Alabama connection to his disappearance. There is one, and it's rather spooky.
On the day he vanished from the world, Gray had attended a screening of "Big Fish" in downtown Manhattan with his sons, Forrest, 11, and Theo, 6. The fantasy movie, filmed near Montgomery, made him weep.
At the end (if you haven't seen the movie, you may not want to read further), a man who's dying of cancer somehow defies his illness and jumps from a riverbank, transforming into a huge fish that swims out of sight.
Russo says she believes the film touched Gray deeply and gave him permission to die.
If life has been interrupted in this way for Spalding Gray, may he rest in peace.
Mary Colurso covers pop music and night life for The Birmingham News. To e-mail her, write to

Mary Colurso
Music Writer
The Birmingham News
2200 Fourth Ave. North
Birmingham, AL 35203
(205) 325-2103
(205) 325-2494 (fax)

Blood Sugar, Snacks, Magic: A Short Biography of Spalding, the Most Expensive Free Cat Ever by Derek Gentry (Excellent!)

Spalding Gray is Alive and Well and Living in the Village by Mary Hilton

Stories Left To Tell at Puff, Dangle, & Sneer Blogspot

Shades of Gray by Sarah Maxfield
Artistic Director, Red Letter Mailbox (includes excellent interview with Kathie Russo)

The world according to Spalding Gray

by Virginia Lloyd

Neruda’s suicide note by Alex Grant - runner-up for the 2005 Pablo Neruda Prize, run by Nimrod International Poetry Journal)

In memory of Spalding Gray

They say nothing ever changes
but your point of view.
Nothing – “some thing
that has no existence”
this makes no sense.
I sit in the catacumbas
and listen to the rain
pound the papaya leaves -
my skin like confetti,
my heart a cheap lottery.

I have seen the tiger’s stripes – 
they live between
the fine linen sheets
of an office-girl’s bed,
in the afternoon fumblings
of someone who is no-one,
with a heart bursting
like a red balloon
on a tap – the pieces fly
in all directions, you cover
your face with your hand,
and it sticks to your skin
like confetti, like phosphorus
launched from a Greek warship,
like the skin of a plum
peeled by a broken nail.

Not expecting you by Dan Mccole

So you meander along your literary avenue , a
destination fixed in you head . You have been told a
mate is having a party and he wants you to come .
Storytelling and storytellers . The bright lights and
new carpet smell of the bookshop , the stilled silence
of cash for thrills and the interrupting beeps of
swiped cards .

The undiscovered

You enter a room full of promises and leaning against
the wall , just beside the light-switch is Spalding
.He smiles that mixed smile and twinkles that message
of shared passions . His presence was an unexpected
bonus and you can hear his gentle breathing as Anton
starts to speak .

I want to believe by May Voirrey

my gray memory by CS

(note from Webmaster - I had no idea that Spalding performed parts of Life Interrupted or perhaps Black Spot in Seattle. I believe this must have been when he added a part to a reprise of Swimming to Cambodia - does anyone know? Also, the racial comments were reported in NYC and as well on radio interview in Ireland)

I saw Spalding Gray in Seattle the last time he was in town was the show before the last scheduled, which was canceled due to his depression.
I had been looking forward to seeing him...I'd seen every show since he first did his monologue Swimming to Cambodia here. Once a girlfriend and I followed him to a local Capitol Hill bar and grill and asked him what inspired his stories. He was already hunched over his drink at his cloth covered round table, a busty redhead in a black dress leaning against him, and he just held up his fingers in the "OK" sign, and said, "All memory is fiction," then went back to drinking his martinis with the woman.
I'd enjoyed every show until the one where he talked about abandoning his artistic girlfriend for the woman who got pregnant and had kids with him -- I guess that monologue just didn't cause me to have much empathy for him -- but to my relief I enjoyed the next monologue after that.
When he did his last monologue at the Seattle Center, I was horrified to hear him make racist remarks about the Indian or Pakistani doctors who worked at the emergency rooms in the Irish hospital he was delivered to after his car accident -- as in, "Where's the WHITE doctors?" as though only they would be proficient in treating him. A young black woman next to me was obviously shocked by his remarks as well. In the Q & A session, she raised her hand and said something like, "Have you come to terms with your feelings about the Pakistani doctors?" And to our surprise, Spalding petulantly denied any sense of guilt or shame about his was honestly just how he felt.
He looked very ill and emaciated that day, scarred and tired, on crutches. No doubt it influenced his behavior at the show --- he was far from his usual, charming self...but I never thought he was in such a condition as to end up committing suicide. I will always miss his talents as a storyteller.

Essence of Spalding: Flying to Nirvana
by A. F. Waddell

His words were real: life feeding back upon itself; his props were basic: a folding chair, a wooden table, a notebook, a glass of water, a microphone. Energy seemed barely contained under his brown-to-gray hair, suntanned skin, plaid shirt, and jeans. Wait. Did he wear cords? I can't remember. As I recall, he didn't often stand up.

I first became familiar with Spalding Gray in the 1980s. I remember asking the Waldenbooks clerk: "Do you have Sex and Death to the Age 14 ?" He checked his computer. "No. But how about In Search of the Monkey Girl?" he asked, narrowing his eyes.

Essence of Spalding: add a dash of the metaphysical, a splash of the karmic; drench it in psychology and sharp social insight/satire; pour in organic, personal, stream of consciousness storytelling. Spalding intimately shared his life experiences with us. I never had the opportunity to attend a monologue performance, but devoured his books and filmed performances.

I was a budding, inhibited writer: astounded by Spalding's honesty, wit, lack of inhibition, style, and lyrical descriptive ability. I identified with him: a weak boundary issue no doubt; too many too easily invaded. It's been said that psychotherapy may destroy creativity: not Spalding's.

I was unaware of Spalding and Kathie's 2001 car accident, until Spalding went missing in January 2004. I was totally shocked. His life must have been hellish after his injuries and surgeries. Managable pre-existing depression must have gone ballistic. How ironical and sad that he'd at last reached a contentment in marriage and fatherhood, only to have his life slammed by a van on a lonely Ireland road.

One January night I dug through my videos and found Monster in a Box. I'd not viewed it in years. I turned off the lights and lit candles. I was once again enthralled by Spalding's energy and words. And I couldn't get my mind around the fact that he was likely gone from earth --- hopefully, flying to nirvana.

In the last few years I ocassionally searched for his web presence and found nada. I imagined that he was too busy with life and love and art to be concerned with the relative banality of flickering cyberspace. I however learned that shortly before his disappearance, Spalding and dedicated fan John Boland discussed the creation of


Discovering Spalding by Jason Gordon:

This has been my small experience with Mr. Gray.
Amazing..I had never heard of Spalding Gray before last week. I'm just a Midwestern boy from Missouri who is more into action movies than Monologues.
Well a few nights ago I couldn't sleep well and was up at midnight looking for something to watch. Swimming to Cambodia was on cable so I switched it on just to see what it was. Well I have been captivated, perhaps haunted, by the performance since then. His voice, his enthusiasm, his camber all mesmerized me. I have never been as intensely interested in listening to any subject as I had with him. It was a very strange experience for me to be honest and I don't think there is an accurate word for it.
Captivating, enthralling, haunting, all don't seem strong or accurate enough to describe the experience.
After the show ended I searched the net and found that he had died. To be honest I was quite surprised as the man in the monologue seemed so alive.
I had never wanted to meet any "Star" and could care less about what goes on with them. I would have been very interested in sharing a meal and some conversation with him. Even though I just discovered his work it affected me, and I felt a great loss when I found out about his death. Its like the
sun came up on a great new world and then just as suddenly it was in darkness.
Thanks Mr. Gray and I'm sorry I didn't discover your work sooner.

A poem by Carol Barclay Medeiros

Monster in a File
by Jawahara Saidullah 

Inspired by Spalding
by Elizabeth Cunha

Memories of NYC & Spalding Gray 
 at Alsatch Blogspot

Spalding Gray: Still Telling Stories
at Hugh Graham Creative

 Spalding Gray's (First) Perfect Sleep
Joy Katz at Sleeper

American Sentences
by Paul Nelson

Global Voices Radio
by Slab

Flying to Nirvana: Essence of Spalding
by A. F. Waddell

Stories Left To Tell at Puff, Dangle, & Sneer Blogspot
by Brendan Padgett 

Gray Eminence 
by Wendy Forman, Ph.D.

Spalding Gray
by Justin Penza
(short but piercing)

Stories Left to Tell in Austin
by Tim Trentham
check out the pics! 

Spalding Gray is Alive and Well and Living in the Village
by Mary Hilton

Gray's Revival
by Rob Kendt
Theatre Development Fund

Discovering What I'm Trying to Do
by Shawn Maus

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