The Glass Coffin

For Hella Winston

“To be full of things is to be empty of God. To be empty of things is to be full of God.”
–Meister Eckhart

It seems rather ghastly now, given that he is serving a sentence of nineteen-years-to-life for murdering a cocktail waitress, but when I was in high school, I became obsessed with music producer Phil Spector—the eccentric and reclusive originator of the “Wall of Sound” that echoed from a dozen girl groups in the early 1960s.

I was a scholarship student at a fancy boarding school in Massachusetts where the workload was notoriously heavy and for me, particularly difficult. I failed a year of mathematics and made mediocre grades in everything else. Instead of studying, though, I sat around reading Tom Wolfe’s essay on Spector from The Kandy-Colored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby, which I kept checking out from the school library. [Read more…]