Steven Bach, 1938-2009

Can't seem to find the right words. Found out through Facebook last night that my screenwriting/film history/literature professor Steven Bach, who I took classes with nearly every term, had died the previous morning. I don't know the how or the why, but people tell me he had been ill, and the words "lung cancer" were used once or twice in conversation before sitting down to write this -- but all of that is just speculation, and I know no more than anyone else about this. Downside of Facebook is that almost anything discovered on it the mind immediately wants to reject as a falsehood -- and news of this nature the mind wants to reject anyway.

But the feeling in the pit of stomach assures me that this is very real. The official announcement is coming from Bennington some time soon, but since access to my campus e-mail was apparently irrevocably forwarded to the lost domain, I don't imagine I'll receive it. This post is for the few people who read my blog, but don't have Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, or anything else that might be disseminating this news to other Bennington alums. It is only temporary; the man deserves a far nicer tribute than I can give him in this state of mind, and I plan on posting more about him in the next day or so.

I was always proud to have been taught by Steven, and I always reference being his student as part of my artistic pedigree. Though I doubt he would have considered us close, I admired him, and feel tonight like I've lost a parent, rather than a professor. More's the regret, cliche though it is, that I hadn't written him since graduation, wanting desperately to impress him with my first letter, and maybe, make him proud by springing some big success I'd accomplished with the skills he'd given me -- but I was too ashamed of my shortcomings, and now, it really doesn't matter at all. Lesson learned.

Condolences to the community, his family, and his friends. Thank you to those who were patient with me last night. And thank you to a dear friend, who took my call.

I want desperately to be out of this house, to be among friends, and to mourn properly.

I miss you, Steven. Missed you before, but not like this. Rest in peace.

2 comments :: Steven Bach, 1938-2009

  1. For the last 5+ years I have had a Steven Bach quote taped to my laptop. "If in your 4 years here you do not learn that love is all that matters, that love makes the world go 'round, then we have utterly failed you."

    Funny that laptop should stop working completely mere days before Steven did. I know how much he meant to you, and to all of us, and I too wish we could be together for this one.
    RIP you crazy old man.

  2. Randall, My name is Cara Venable. I am Steven's neice. I live in Colorado and am also looking for ways to grieve with those who loved Steven, especially his students. Thank you for your kind words.

    I can so relate to your feelings of wanting to impress him with your writing. I've felt such compulsion for years, not only because he was my writing mentor, but because I felt I owed it to our shared DNA! Sadly, after my graduation from college (Beloit '93 BA Lit/Creative Writing/Teaching) life took me in different directions and we never fully exploited my writing talents. His passing signifies the the loss of my special uncle, the end of a profoundly interesting life, but also the loss of a great mentor. I am so envious of all of you who had Steven as a prof.... I can only imagine what his classes were like. I'd give my right arm just for a syllabus to any one of his classes!

    Please feel free to contact me. I'm anxious to hear more of your thoughts/experiences with Steven. Steven requested no family service, so I feel as if hearing "virtual" accounts of Steven's life are about as much closure as I'll get.