Michael Kimball Writes Your Life Story
(on a postcard)

#222 Alan Carroll Reese: Romanticism and Melancholia

Alan Carroll Reese was born in 1950 in Sayre, PA, a sleepy railroad town on the Susquehanna River. The running water and train whistles were some of the first sounds that Alan ever heard and this informed his early romanticism and then his general melancholia. When Alan was 9 months old, he had a severe asthma attack and turned blue in the car on the way to the hospital, which might explain certain bizarre behaviors. A tracheotomy relieved the asthma attack, and, later, an incident that involved grave robbing cured him of any bizarre behavior. Besides that, Alan’s childhood resembled a Leave It to Beaver episode in many ways. Growing up, Alan spent a lot of time digging for dinosaur bones, sleeping in tree forts, having epic snowball fights, and playing baseball in an abandoned field. But there were also David Lynch elements to Alan’s suburban childhood. For instance, his grandfather liked to pretend that he could swallow his tongue. Also, when Alan was 9 years old, 3 neighborhood boys tied him to a tree and threatened to eviscerate him. They were just playing, but the trauma was real. About 10 years later, Alan was sitting on a bench outside of Woolworth’s when a friend invited over a woman named Alberta who then made funny faces for Alan, which made Alan smitten. At 19, Alan married Alberta and then, on their wedding night, they drove all night to Provincetown where they lived for 2 years. Alan loves that Alberta lived life as a comedy and that she had an unmatched capacity for selflessness. Over the years, Alan and Alberta had 3 children—Camille, Jesse, and Joshua—and none of them are sociopaths, which was a kind of relief. Alan is most proud that each of them is a distinct individual with a great sense of independent spirit and thought, and that each of them is also bound by compassion. Once, Alan met William Burroughs, who made him a cup of tea. Also, Alan has worked as an extra in 6 John Waters' films. Further, Alan cannot recall a time when he didn’t share living space with a dog. In 2002, Alberta died of a sudden heart attack and Alan woke up that day into a different world, a Twilight Zone version of his life. The places resembled the world he used to live in and the people behaved in familiar ways, but there was the distinct sense that it wasn’t right. There is no next for Alan. There is only now. Someday, though, Alan might find a mountaintop cabin to live in and, from there, he will send internal weather reports to the survivors of the oil wars and watch the beautiful glow as cities begin to burn.
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