George Murray’s only book of poems was entitled “Act One”, self-published in 1976, printed by Triton Press in California. His first book “Act One” was dedicated to his second wife Ursula, though perhaps it should have been named “Act Two” under those circumstances… 🙂
I believe it was Ursula, who hand-drew the black, stenciled letters of the book title, and subtitle, which were printed on the 70’s-style, yellow-orange cover, bound by two staples. Over the years, especially if left in direct sunlight one too many times, the yellow-orange faded to muted yellow, while the white paper inside yellowed too, as if to meet halfway, tonally, one day.
Before and after his death, spying that familiar yellow-orange color, or a faded version of it, in his home, or ours (all his children had multiple copies), was a source of quiet joy. Sometimes we would move beyond the pleasure of simply seeing the book, to open and re-read it, marveling anew at his way with words, the pictures he painted, impressions he created, and insights he subtly divulged in his poems.
When George Murray died in February of 2010 (at 83), we all went looking for our copies of “Act One”, not because we needed more reasons to mourn, or things to remember him by, but because that little yellow-orange book in many ways embodies him. It is iconic, familiar, and comforting, like actually, tangibly, having him with us. Now, as then, we like to look at “Act One” on our shelf, in a drawer, or in the file where special things are kept, not with sadness, but with a smile, comforted.
After the funeral, his three children (me, my older brother, and my younger sister) gave away some of our extra copies of “Act One”, to special friends of his, the family, and grandchildren who knew him, and had come of age.
Oh, and did I mention…that George Murray’s poems, published in and out of “Act One” are wonderful? Of course they are – that’s what all this is about – his poems and other words, not just the sappy sentiments of those who loved him!! 🙂
OK, enough suspense! We’ll start with a poem from “Act One” in our next post…
– the Kids of George Murray, Poet.