Last weekend Paul's first wife, Sachiko Kanenobu and her partner Sukhawat Ali Khan came to visit. It was very dear and very beautiful and I came away from that visit feeling honored to be a part of the Paul Williams extended family, which includes their sons, Kenta and Taiyo (both of which have visited their father in the past few months).
And, then the week before the visit with Paul's second wife Donna Grace and her husband David Noyes, was also a lovely treat. They spent Valentine's Day with Paul while I played a show in LA and when I got back I found handmade valentine hearts from Donna, in books and stuck on photos for me to find and Paul to see.
Paul was a loyal reader of and friend and later a champion of, science fiction writer Theodore Sturgeon. He edited most of the Complete Short Stories series and wrote copious story notes. He would also read these stories aloud to me. One of the most memorable was More Than Human, where a commune of people, together, form a whole being, a newly evolved mind.
I like to think that Paul was always looking for that way of being. He didn't do it in a perfect way, as we family members can attest to, and sometimes his idealism didn't match up with our own personal realities, but he was somehow, always hoping to find a way that the people he loved could live or be alright together as a whole. This could make for a rather complicated and not altogether natural way of handling 'marital bliss'. But in his way, Paul was striving for a perfection that Sturgeon's story had
The cover of the 1953, 35cent paperback, with a cracked spine and yellowing pages says:
More Than Human,
the provocative story of six people who became-together-a new kind of humanity.....
Somewhere in this world there are six people who -together-can do anything. Some day, perhaps tomorrow, they will put their power to work and world will be transformed. In the meantime they are waiting quietly. They look-often behave-like people you know. But with a difference: they think of themselves as "I"-not "we"-because in a curious way they are One. That is the source of their strength. This is the story of how they met, and what they became...
....and what they intend to do.
* * * * *
This recording is Sukhawat playing what he called a healing raga for Paul. I recorded it as a memo on my phone. An elderly man came in the room as Sukhawat played and sang, sat down and nodded along with the rhythm of the music. Afterwards we found out he was Iranian and Sukhawat spoke to him in Farsi. It was all pretty great. Before the raga, Sachiko pulled out her guitar and sang some of her own songs to Paul, in English and in Japanese. This was a very magical experience for all of us.