This is the Snail Family’s friend Les Plesko, a brilliant novelist and teacher who tragically took his life on September 16. To learn about Les’s passionate and compassionate vision, take a look at this site (I set it up and co-manage it).
This beautiful postcard was distributed at Les’ memorial. Here’s the reverse side:
Les had an unmistakable aesthetic. He sent zany little Christmas cards and made art films in which you could see that he’d filmed something, but the point of them was the quality of the actual film–blurriness, speckling and overexposure. He abhorred anything slick. I know he would have liked this postcard that recently arrived in the mail:It reminds me of the cigarette smudges and burns he’d accidentally leave on his students’ work.Les’ patchy, scratchy way naturally applied to his appearance. When Mama Snail sold her first major book, she resolved to buy her colleague a dozen pairs of nice socks so he wouldn’t have to go around mismatched anymore. But his girlfriend at the time said not to bother, he’d only mix them up all over again. That’s how he liked it.
So dressed, with wild hair, a wall-eye and bad teeth, the respected author was sometimes mistaken for a homeless person. A denizen of Los Angeles’ Venice Beach, Les and his old bicycle were a local public sighting. At the memorial last week, his workshop-mate Lola Willoughby affectionately recalled spotting Les standing outside a coffee shop having just picked up a cup of joe, when a passerby dropped a quarter into it!
After their workshop years, Lola and Les both found themselves teaching in the UCLA Extension Program for Creative Writing. Lola shared that, at one time, the UCLA library security was on alert for a homeless person who’d been defecating in the reference section. One night after class, she entered the library to find a security guard tailing Professor Plesko.
You can see why Les would have fit right into the postcard below. …Which he would have found amusing.