I haven’t been able to precisely feel one way about the drunk-driving tragedy that befell director-writer Roger Avary (Beowulf, Pulp Fiction) last year, and which killed a 34 year-old friend named Andreas Zini when Avary piled his car into a telephone pole in Ojai. Avary, a friend and a great spirit whom I’ve known since the Pulp Fiction/Killing Zoe days, pleaded guilty last Tuesday to DUI and manslaughter. He’ll face sentencing sometime next month.
My basic feeling is that after a certain interval of mourning and atonement, you have to move on and make the best of your life in the aftermath of such an event. A writer like Avary should write or create something. I only know that no single event defines a life and that the only way to deal with monumental tragedy is to say, “Yes, that happened and I’ll deal with it for the rest of my life, but we all need to turn the page and try to strike a match.”
I also think it’s fair to ask anyone who’s ever known Roger and worked with him if they’ve ever driven with a buzz-on or worse, God forbid. Let he/she who is without sin throw the first stone. I’m ashamed to admit that I drove stinko a couple of times in the early to mid ’90s when I had a vodka-and-lemonade problem. One of those times resulted in a banger, and I can only get down on my knees, look up and cross myself in thankfulness that nothing worse happened. (I faced my problem and dealt with it to my personal satisfaction in ’96. My inspiration was Pete Hamill‘s A Drinking Life: A Memoir.) I’m basically saying that I was lucky enough to wake up or be given a break by fate or what-have-you, and when I think of poor Roger I think, “There but for the grace of God…”