Bill Hicks, American Screamer Revisited

This is how good art gets distributed.
In 2005, a buddy burned me a copy of Bill HicksRelentless, and I was taken by its simple but insightful observations. Curious about Hicks, who died of pancreatic cancer at age 32 in 1994, I moved on to read Cynthia True’s American Scream: The Bill Hicks Story.
And that’s how fans and followers are born; we burn or give something, a record, a cd, a book, and if the work has merit, it moves along.  When an extensive reissue of Hicks material came out in 2010, I reviewed it gladly.
So the cover of the new Revue Mid Michigan features Hicks with a really nice rendering. And inside, I write about Hicks and his appearances in Lansing,Mich., my hometown. Check it out, and hit Hicks any way you can. Like his recently departed fellow travelers Michael Davis, Bob Madigan and Davy Jones, Hicks was a pioneer.
And I’m sure no one will mind again reading his parting words, written in the last days of his life:
I was born William Melvin Hicks on December 16, 1961 in Valdosta, Georgia. Ugh. Melvin Hicks from Georgia. Yee Har! I already had gotten off to life on the wrong foot. I was always “awake,” I guess you’d say. Some part of me clamoring for new insights and new ways to make the world a better place.
All of this came out years down the line, in my multitude of creative interests that are the tools I now bring to the Party. Writing, acting, music, comedy. A deep love of literature and books. Thank God for all the artists who’ve helped me. I’d read these words and off I went – dreaming my own imaginative dreams. Exercising them at will, eventually to form bands, comedy, more bands, movies,anything creative. This is the coin of the realm I use in my words – Vision.
On June 16, 1993 I was diagnosed with having “liver cancer that had spread from the pancreas.” One of life’s weirdest and worst jokes imaginable. I’d been making such progress recently in my attitude, my career and realizing my dreams that it just stood me on my head for a while. “Why me!?” I would cry out, and “Why now!?”
Well, I know now there may never be any answers to those particular questions, but maybe in telling a little about myself, we can find some other answers to other questions. That might help our way down our own particular paths, towards realizing my dream of New Hope and New Happiness. Amen.
I left in love, in laughter, and in truth and wherever truth, love and laughter abide, I am there in spirit.

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