He was born October 28, 1954 and left the planet Friday, March 25, 2011. He was my best friend and almost-brother, would-be brother, now gone brother.
I will never be the same.
Leon Lanzbom played the guitar better than Clapton and was the closest friend I ever had in San Diego, California--a beautiful city, to be sure, but not always filled with the friendliest folks.
We spent a lot of time together the last decade hanging out at Monty's/Louie's at SDSU, at Ponce's on Adams Avenue, at his apartment by the shore in La Jolla, and his condo on Torrey Pines of late. I was his friend and his chef, his friend and his gardener, his friend and his nemesis--we fought almost all the time and all the time loved each other deeply. He was my neo-"Mexican" friend to me; I was the would-be "Jewish" friend from Jersey that just happened to grow up in South Texas.
I learned so much about music and writing and friendship from him.
My heart hurts so much now that I think I cannot stand it.
In the end, it was his big heart that let him down--a damned piece of salvaged plumbing that could not take it any more. His physical heart.
But know this: his real heart was huge, his soul enormous.
He saved my life one day--did I tell him? Did he know?
Some will say "he's in a better place" and other such nonsense (the words we use to cope with unspeakable, irretrievable loss). But he is not. And we are not.
Back in the day, Leon and I collaborated a lot--here's the class he designed that I webmastered; here is the class we taught together.
Here's some of his writing from his Word Rogues site:
Who Are We?
Words -- so innocent and powerless as they are,
as standing in a dictionary,
how potent for good and evil they become
in the hands
of one who knows how to combine them.
My favorite Jersey Shore memory was playing in the shore break with my friends. We'd cautiously slide as close to the edge of the continent as possible and play a game called "Let Go." The idea: relax and let the water take us wherever it flowed, staying, and here's the key, as flexible as possible. By the time the shore-break was done with us, we might have landed thirty feet down the beach or have been stranded like seals in a pile of shells.
Years later, I would play a different form of "Let Go." I would test my flexibility in real life.
I ran a fairly large chiropractic practice on Cape Cod, seeing anyone who needed care. The "discipline": to give for the sake of giving, my doors were open to anyone who needed care, regardless of financial condition. Patients came from as far as Providence, Rhode Island. Some would even fly in from Nantucket. But, after fifteen years, and thousands of treatments, I began to break down. After a severe bought of bronchitis, I decided to play "Let Go" of my chiropractic life. Against the advice of my accountant, I sold my practice and moved to San Diego. I dug out my old surfboard and got back into the ocean. Just sitting there with no schedule set for tomorrow--feeling the kelp brush my legs, watching the tide lift and lower all things, hearing the drum-beat of water on the bottom of my board--was like meditation. My big question: should I play it safe and open another office or start my life over, studying a great passion, writing and literature.
Always one to choose pathos over ethos, I "Let Go." I went back to school, starting from the beginning--San Diego Mesa College--and moved on to a BA in American literature, an MA in children's literature, and an MFA in poetry at SDSU. Along the way, I observed and absorbed the techniques of my most dedicated professors. What made them different? I noticed that the best were able to take even the most boring subjects and offer them in a way that was uniquely theirs--same subject, same words, different retelling.
So here I am, welcoming you, attempting to bring grammar, writing, poetry, and literature into your life. I'm trying to retell the same story--giving for the sake of giving--trying to make every class myfirst class. And you, whether you're a student, an aspiring writer, or a published poet, I hope you feel that unquenchable thirst for the music of words--spoken, written, and visualized,--and I hope this site helps you find your way through the common problems of writing.
Look around. You'll find several researched resources on writing, grammar, and critical thinking. Feel free to check on some of my live English classes. But most of all, if words are your love, I hope this inspires you to "Let Go." --Leon Lanzbom
Goodnight, Leon; I look forward to hanging with you again on the other side--you can have the shrimp burrito and I'll have the carne asada torta. Old times. Glory days.
|Me and Leon Lanzbom, performing at GALOKA |
near Bird Rock, California (La Jolla) in the Fall of 2004.....
|Leon Lanzbom, Ponce's Restaurant, 2008|
I just posted a collection of Lanzbom-laced snapshots here.