I wasn’t a big fan of high school, a bit rebellious in spirit, doing whatever I had to do to get by with respectable grades. Paul, on the other hand, always appeared to be intellectually in a league of his own. His thoughts seemed a bit out of reach from some of us. He was one of the smart kids, but I’m not talking just book smart, I’m talking contemplator, questioner, thinker---a trying to figure it out kind of guy. Writer, poet and journalist, Paul had a pretty good command of the English language for a high school kid. All I wanted to do was to play in a rock ‘n roll band!
Several years had gone by since graduating high school and as far as I knew, Gordon was history. One afternoon while walking through downtown Flushing with a close friend from high school, we noticed a bearded fellow donned in white and beads standing on a busy corner waiting for a bus. “Isn’t that Paul Gordon?” my friend asked. “It sure does look like him,” I answered in a perplexed reply. I was a middle class Catholic white boy from the suburbs of Queens who immediately assumed that my old high school acquaintance had been brainwashed into joining a dangerous cult!
Segue forty years after graduating high school. Technology makes it easier to locate fellow classmates through the miracle of social networking sites like Facebook. A forty year high school reunion was planned and suddenly names from my past started popping up on my Facebook screen faster than weeds on my front lawn, each asking me to “Friend” them. I noticed a comment posted by Kirpal Gordon. Later I would find out his meditation teacher Yogi Bhajan had given him the Sikh first name (which means compassionate in Punjabi) upon his initiation into kundalini and tantric yoga, but all I knew at the time was that he was announcing his upcoming performance at a café in Greenwich Village just around the corner from my daughter’s apartment. I saw he was still at the writing game so I thought I’d surprise him by showing up at the gig.
We continued to stay in touch and within a year we had both completed new novels, my Planet Love: The End of the World as We Knew It and his thriller, Round Earth, Open Sky. When we shared manuscripts, we were blown away by the similarities in our stories and decided to launch Giant Steps Press.
Who would have thought?
- John Rullo