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Hugging my friend Trudy Morse, 1919-2013

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My close friend Trudy Morse gave me a warm hug within minutes of my first meeting her seventeen years ago. Yesterday she left her body. I hug her spiritually as Trudy transitions to the next chapter in her life.

In 1996 I went to the local chavura to pray for my friend John Johnson, who had recently passed away. It turned out to have been the chavura’s twentieth or twenty-fifth anniversary. About an hour later, a diminutive woman got up, dressed in her bohemian best, and started talking about having been onstage with Jerry Garcia, and her friendships with Sun Ra and Cecil Taylor. I was transfixed. She then proceeded to perform a prayer — with local musician and Jewish Renewal spiritual leader David Shneyer strumming guitar in the background — approaching numerous of us sitting in the circle, and reminding us that we are blessed.

I felt then and there that I had to meet this woman who exuded such inspiration, optimism, and joy . After she finished her performance, she started walking down the hallway. I had to restrain myself not to run right up and grab Trudy to assure meeting her. As I approached, she turned around — she later told me that SHE had found ME (never an accident”, she would say, about these divine coincidences) with an angelic smile in my direction. Here is more of the background of our first meeting:

In 1995, I spent over four weeks at the Trial Lawyers College with the amazing John Johnson, who was hugging personified. When John Johnson left the planet in early 1996, he hugged me in a dream the same evening I learned of his passing. The next evening, his belief in the power of hugging followed me as I accepted a homeless woman’s requests for a couple of hugs on a snowy evening after I bought her dinner, when before I may not have accepted the hug request of any stranger. It carried into the next day, when for the first time I met my now close friend Trudy Morse when I went to pray for John. She is a hugging friend I met after the passing of another hugging friend.

Shortly afterward, I spoke with another Trial Lawyers College participant about how I had gone mainly from being a non-hugger to all this hugging after John Johnson passed; that is not to say that I have gone the opposite route, either. He suggested that all this might have happened because I finally had opened myself to receiving the hugs. So I had.

Here are other things I have written and linked about Trudy:- clearly would persuasively engage in the courtroom. Trudy takes life by the horns every day and every moment. From a near death experience, Trudy “learned that life is so fragile, I would try to enjoy every moment of life…” Being in the moment is critical to successful trial battle.

– “We touch each other, For a moment. We feel each other, It is a tender touch. We love each other, For the moment.” From Trudy’s “We Met at the Crossroads.”

Cecil Taylor and I are close mutual friends of Trudy Morse, whom I write about here. I had the good fortune to experience Cecil at the Library of Congress in 1999, and then to join with Trudy and numerous others at Cecil’s hotel room to hear him talk captivatingly of music and other topics, which followed his backstage discussion of such topics as the artistry of bridges. In 2001, Cecil was playing a tambourine in the audience at Trudy’s birthday celebration, and there we talked some more.

Here is Trudy in her own words:

– Trudy on You Tube: “There are no accidents.”

The essence of Trudy Morse, on You Tube.

– Trudy on video, about her poetry and passions.

– Trudy on video, about writing on the road, awe and gratitude, and overcoming from the mourning over her husband Malcolm’s death.

Her near death experiences, from “Hermes at the Crossroads”.

Here are links about Trudy from other people:

– Trudy had a knack for connecting people who would want to meet each other, including jazz writer and teacher Thomas Stanley to Cecil Taylor.

– Ruby Flower publishing promotes Trudy’s wonderful writings. She includes a short biography in the foregoing link

– Short biography of Trudy on the Deep Listening page.

Jazz Times article on Trudy’s essence.

– Ted Panken on how Trudy met Cecil Taylor in 1987, Trudy said: “Cecil Taylor suddenly looked at me and wondered who I was.  I sat down.  Later I noticed that he kept turning pages of music with very interesting notation.  I said, ˜Mr. Taylor, I don’t mean to be too curious, but what kind of notation and whose works are these?’  From then on, it’s history.  Cecil Taylor puzzled me enough that I accepted his invitation to tour with him.  Ive been touring ever since.

– Picture of Trudy singing a song of St. Francis at the Prayer Vigil for the Earth, National Mall.

– At the 2008 Prayer Vigil for the Earth.

Pictures of Trudy on Facebook.

Deeply thanking, bowing to, and hugging Trudy Morse, as she proceeds to the next chapter in her life.

Na Mu Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo.