by Jerry Waxler
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Slash Coleman’s memoir Bohemian Love Diaries takes me on the journey of a child who attempts to grow up, handicapped by the problem that the only way he can make sense of life is through art. With his constant companion, his writing journal, he relentlessly turns every aspect of his life, including his own name, into a work of art.
As he grows toward adulthood, he attempts to form a loving relationship. At first his artistic obsessions seem like they are going to work beautifully. The women to whom he is attracted are fascinated by his creativity. However, sustaining the relationships is another matter. By attempting to avoid the orderliness of life, he undermines the day to day requirements of caring for self and others.
As his search for a sustainable relationship continued, I noticed fewer and fewer pages until the end. I desperately feared that there would not be enough time to wrap it up successfully. Oh, no, not a perfect book with an imperfect end! I needed the story to be redeemed.
Good endings are important for me, because as a young man, seeking my own identity in the 60s, I was almost driven mad by the despairing implications of so many of my favorite books. Since then, I have had an aversion to unhappy endings, and believe that my sanity relies on a continued supply of redemptive conclusions.
I didn’t want to lose faith in Slash Coleman, but I couldn’t see how he had enough room to pull his unfulfilled romances into a satisfying end. And then boom. He pulled it off and in a surprising twist expanded my appreciation for good endings. By widening the camera angle, he showed me how coming of age is a family endeavor. The ending also helped me understand how a person in the thick of a dilemma, without any clear conclusion to his own circumstances, can wrap up a story. Even though the character has not found his own redemptive end, the story itself finds an ending.
The book shows me the extreme creativity that Slash Coleman will apply in order to offer his readers an uplifting experience. In an earlier passage, he attempted to spiritually awaken his audience by dancing in front of them naked. I don’t believe he succeeded in that particular art form, but I think he came close to doing it in this one. I walked away from the memoir with that lift of joy and hope that is the payoff for reading a good book.
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