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Partners in passion: how does it happen?

March 17th, 2004 · 1 Comment

When I saw Tess Gallagher’s name in the Bainbridge Review this morning I got excited. But I don’t know much about her. All I know is that she is a writer. And she was Raymond Carver’s partner. They lived together in Port Angeles, an hour or so from here. And of all writers I like, Northwest or not, I love his works the most. I was introduced to him in high school and got hooked. Although I don’t buy many books, Will You Please Be Quiet Please is on the shelf above this desk. It is one of a half dozen literature books that I chose to buy – not a purchase mandated by a professor. I love his short stories. I think, at least at one point, I had read all his collections. I regret that by the time I got interested in him, he was already gone. He passed away in 1988 and Tess Gallagher has been handling his estate since then. I don’t know her works as well as I knew Raymond Carver’s. I think I’ve only read a poem or short story or two of hers. Yet, somehow, I feel some kind of compassion and passion about her, since she loved Raymond Carver. I feel some kind of connection to her through him.

Today’s paper described how she now has a new partner, painter Josie Gray and the two will have a show opening at gallery Fraga on the island. They’ve been together for a decade and work together: his paintings and her poems. I’d like to go see the show.

This morning I walked past the gallery. New red paint and flowers!


Although it was closed, what I could glimpse of his pictures and her poem on a poster enticed me. My Unspoken Life


I’ll be back. If only to admire the red flower boxes!
I stood before the door reading the poem, noticing the rhythm of the words of Unspoken Life. I feel a connection to Tess Gallagher as a writer. And as a woman who has found a passionate partnership with a man.

This year will mark a decade together. Both Gray and Gallagher hope for more years.
“Don’t we have the most extraordinary luck, or grace?” Gallagher said. “But it (partnership) was well prepared for, because I had it with Ray.
“That’s the first step, knowing what you want in your life and then drawing it to you.”

I’m glad that she has found another artistic partnership, someone with whom to share passion. And I think it’s interesting to think about how those lovers who have died and left life prepare people for the next lover in the next phase of life.

But in her words, it sounds as if finding a partnership, a lasting love, is mystical magnetism, drawing to yourself what you want. I feel I’ve known plenty of people who knew what they wanted but were lonely and longing for companions. When I look at Ted and me, how we happened to end up together, I don’t think it’s anything I did. It’s nothing I was trying to do to draw him to me. I don’t think it was luck. Extraordinary, yes. Love is extraordinary. And Grace. Yes, it was Grace.

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1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Ravi Patel // Mar 30, 2004 at 7:44 am

    Hi, i am doing a research paper on Tess Gallagher and i was wondering if anyone could give me her e-mail address. That would be very helpful to me for this project. Please e-mail me. Thank you.

    Ravi Patel