Monday, May 26, 2008

Steve Cisler

I'd like to write just a few words about Steve, but feel at a loss given the expanding circle of good friends of his who are writing remembrances. See, for example, this entry from boing boing that also gives a list of some other entries. I met Steve quite recently when he came to work at the Center for Science, Technology and Society at Santa Clara University. As a librarian he immediately offered wise counsel for our very small Friends of African Village Libraries project... Discussions with Steve were always hands-on... one day when talking about the pros and cons of computers in libraries in rural Africa, we'd end up exploring his OLPC computer. Another time, talking about making micro-books, a subject dear to both of us, he returned the next day with a little cut-and-paste do-it-yourself-through-folding book he had started exploring. I think he got a serious case of "West Africa/Peace Corps remembrance fever" with me, since I get to go to Burkina Faso so much. But he always approached things with equanimity- a plain-spoken, this is the way the world is quality that I found very appealing. The last time I spoke with Steve he told me he was quite ill, but I didn't appreciate just how much. But his tone was melancholy, and when I went home that afternoon it was a beautiful slightly stormy day, and two palm trees outside my home window were swaying in a way that reminded me of a Hollis Frampton movie I'd seen long ago. Looking for the movie online, I came across this clip of Hollis Frampton's short movie Gloria!, which I think perfectly encapsulates all the complex feelings we have about saying goodbye to a life well-lived and a person well-loved.

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