My friend John and I have known each other for 44 years. He is 88, I am 69, and when I recently told him for the first time that I love him, he laughed and said “OK”.
In 1973, my husband, Roger Morgan, introduced me to John as a Photographer, Scenic Designer, Painter, Playwright, Lyricist, Broadway Producer, Chef, Professor and Entrepreneur; I thought he was joking. Over the years, however, I watched as this exceptional man collected Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Tony Awards, while somehow managing to found the Playwrights Horizons Theatre School along the way.
As John Guare wrote in the introduction to John’s 2003 autobiography, John Wulp: ”Wouldn’t a bewildering array of identities imply no identity at all? Maybe, but in Wulp’s case that elusoriness of identity, its very multiples, become part of his intriguing and powerful persona.”
John is a solitary fellow; he’s never married or sustained a longterm relationship. Over the decades I’ve watched him listen to his muse (though he never called it that) as he seemingly stumbled into his next project. His unflagging spirit was inspiring.
About a year ago John began to phone me from his home in Vinalhaven, Maine, to read me poems he’d written. Poems, John? I’m not a poetry person! Maybe that’s what appealed to him, because he kept calling for weeks, and I listened to not just a few poems, but hundreds… he said he just couldn’t stop.
In fact, a collection of his poems was released a few weeks ago:
Cormorant Time – A Madman’s Journal – Poems Written in a Time of Fever
So John has added yet another role to his life.
Is devouring me
Each day it eats
A part of me
The very heart and soul of me
And yet I feel
Than I’ve ever felt before
Published by Hugh Martin, edited by Philip Conkling: ISBN 978-0-692-80513-8 © 2016
Recently I was compelled to call John to let him know how important he’s been to me over the years, and that he was my model for an artistic life.
It was when I told him I loved him and he laughed and said “OK”.
It meant so much to me.