Les Plesko, the Poet of Prose

Les Plesko, the poet of prose

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 five 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!

 It is impossible for me to describe Les Pleasko since whatever I say is cliché. All I can do is to write about what he taught me:

– Write every day
– Don’t over-think the plot
– Avoid exclamation points
– Be the protagonist and tell the story of his/her emotions
– Be scared of clichés! Cliché is the first thing that comes to your mind. Go the opposite way.
– Read your page out loud
– Read
– Read more
– Read good stuff
– Don’t rush! Nobody’s out there waiting for you and for your novel

He touched so many lives, like mine, and yet couldn’t save his own.

From now on, this vision – this dream– will break my heart, always.  From now on, and forever, every sentence I write will be marked by his absence.

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