Brian Ross (not verified)

Follow your bliss

Carl was fond of quoting Joseph Campbell’s saying that you should “follow your bliss”. Carl so thoroughly embodied this philosophy that anyone who ever wondered whether pursuing wholeheartedly what you love and sharing that love with others can really lead you toward happiness and perfection needed only to sit back and watch him teach, or do anything for that matter. His intensity was at once intimidating and contagious. After toiling for hours on some 300-word translation assignment of some arcane, convoluted, flow-of-consciousness Argentinean text, feeling that I’d done the best anyone could do, Carl would hand out “his version” and the end of his class, showing us all what can be done with the English language, invariably leaving me feeling inadequate, yet piqued to strive harder and do better the next time around. He was as frugal with excess verbiage as he was with money. He could untwist the most tortuous syntax, laying bare the meaning and putting it in such plain English you couldn’t help but say “why didn’t I see that?” His sentences were as pared-down, direct, devoid of obfuscation and ambiguity as were his personality and lifestyle. He was as faithful to his friends as he was to that old VW Bug. He could come off as intolerant (mostly of mediocrity) and rough around the edges, but anyone who had the privilege of knowing him well knew what a softy he was, how quickly his voice could choke up and his eyes would well up at the thought of a lost friend. Now he’s our lost friend. I’ll miss you Carl. Thank you for all the lessons you taught.

November 08, 2012 @ 2:29 am

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