Some four hundred patients are survived by the possessions they left behind, in an extraordinary cache of suitcases. Their personal belongings illuminate lives spent at the margins and pose a question no closer to being satisfactorily answered now than it was a century ago: how should we look after our mentally ill?
“The worst thing you can do is sing Happy Birthday,” Eastwood says. So on the day he turned eighty-four, he started shooting a movie.
“It is a place where you can be anything. It’s a place where you can say anything, write anything, paint anything.” But not for long.
A few days after the execution date was confirmed, I received a message: Swearingen wanted me to watch him die.
“The idea is immortal, it is without class and it doesn’t care anything about wealth,” he says. ” I could get my horn and play for you, and believe me, I would play something.”
The phone rings. Would I mind if he takes it? His daughter in California is worried about forest fires. “Well how far away is the smoke? I’ll buy you another house if it burns down, honey, OK?”