I woke up this morning and remembered that Les is gone..gone the way he did. The sun was absent and I was still in shock and there was no word capable of consoling me and all those who adored him, loved him and depended on him to realize their own dreams.
Les Plesko was my teacher, my friend, and my mentor. I took his classes for six years at UCLA Extension and at his private workshop. The first time I met him, his toothless smile, his sun-burst skin and his distorted gaze reminded me of a homeless man. I had no idea that soon, his very class, would turn into the place where I’d feel the most at home.
Before knowing him, I was a sad mediocre housewife, a sad successful engineer, a sad anxious mother, and a sad good wife; just an ordinary woman with a dream: the dream of being a writer.
I met Les and my whole life changed. I was born again. Writing one single perfect page became my daily mission. I was saved from a full-length empty life filled with regrets. Because of him I dared to write. He made my life worth living. In the last years, he mentored me in writing The Suicide Note, a book born by the image of someone jumping off a building...and now this! Such an irony!
He touched so many lives, like mine, and yet couldn’t save his own. He lived as a modest man and yet was the most generous.
I still count on him to read the pages of my unfinished novel and to fill them with his crossed-outs, and Huhs and Cliches, plus – maybe- a few check marks. No, I am not ready to live in a world without Les. In my head, he is still looking at me shyly, wearing a white T-shirt from Goodwill, nodding “See ya next week!”, like telling me not to be scared of failing.