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Courtney Eldridge

Old Friends

Full disclosure: Bentley Wood is one of my oldest friends. We grew up together. We go way back, all right. High school, even. Today, Bentley’s a musician, a filmmaker, a designer, an actor—so many things. Not to mention one of the funniest people I have ever known. Truly. And in all this time, this is the first we’ve ever worked together, really.

The thing is, Bentley is one of those people, one of those very rare types of people who’s always cheerleading others, always talking about someone he knows, someone he’s discovered, just how brilliant they are, how gifted. And he’s right. He has incredible taste in music, art, film, people. But the thing is, Bentley never seems to see that in his own abilities. If he does, he doesn’t say much about it, and it’s a deafening humility, because he’s as talented and capable as anyone I know. He’s just quiet about it, and few people are, you know?

Case in point, when I asked him if he has a Flickr link, so that I could link all his images, he said he’d have to get back to me. It’s not the sort of thing that would occur to him, you see. Though, clearly, it should. That’s just Bentley, see. He’ll send you a hundred links about people he knows, admires, but he doesn’t even remember what he did with his Flickr password. Classic.

In any case, he sent me about fifteen photos this past Christmas. He was just sharing some pictures from a trip, like he always does, always has. Soon as I saw them, I wanted to use them. It was the first time I really wanted to think about how Thea might write, the difference between her thoughts and what she’d actually commit to paper. In the end, there wasn’t much need, because she trusted her reader, despite the fact that her reader is missing.

Working with Bentley this week was obviously about far more than the images he shared. It was a very real, very personal reminder of that time in life, how fragile an age fifteen truly is. And how those experiences can remain with you your entire life—more than childhood, more than last week, in all likelihood.

Regardless, Bentley’s been a cheerleader for this project from the start, and, personally and creatively, he’s one of those people always who keeps me going. No small task, trust me. I have to say, of all the incredibly brilliant people I’ve worked with on this project, I’m particularly proud to share Bentley Wood’s work. Thank you, B.

C.E.

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