(I originally wrote this post last summer while guest blogging for the subject of the post. In honor of his birthday, I repost it here. Happy birthday, Michael – you’re one in a million. Annie)
He’s a writer. He plays a mean piano – by ear no less – hard on the head but easy on the hands from what I hear. He’s a dad. He’s a husband. And to me, a friend. What you would call a real friend.
It’s funny, though we’ve never met face to face and honestly I’m not sure what it would be like if we did, we have fostered a friendship over the last 4-5 years that is rare. We go beyond friendship, almost all the way to family.
He’s shared with me about the tragic illnesses of both of his parents. I’ve told him about my brother who died of AIDS. I know all about his beautiful daughters and how special each of them are to him. About how his wife is one in a million. About his cute little cats. And his big silver truck. He knows about my love-hate relationship with cigarettes. My sloppy, anal room-mate. My hilarious dog.
We met at an online writer’s group, of all places. It was one of those places that wanna-be writers flock to and need-to-write-to-live writers approach with caution. What the heck, it was free and you also got to meet other writers. What’s not to love?
We swapped crits (critiques) on each other’s assignments. Culminating into a ‘story’ at the end of the course. His was the “Goodbye House” mine was “Faith.” From the beginning I admired the work and the man. Always taking the time to really say something, really give you his honest opinion. You could tell this guy had a lot of heart.
Well, our stint at the online group didn’t last long. We both realized in our own ways that truly we were engaging in Writer’s Socialism. Struggling to help the writers who couldn’t and barely having time for the writers who could. We both like to think we were among the latter.
But our friendship didn’t end there. After there were emails. More story swapping. Talking about anything and everything. Yakking on the phone about this and that. Really, somehow this guy became the brother I lost so many years ago. Somebody who I could talk to about anything and everything. Somebody who really cared about what I had to say.
I was amazed by his life and how he took everything in stride. Juggling parents that needed constant supervision, a family, a marriage, a job, doing music gigs on the side and somehow still finding the time to write. For cripes sake he wrote on the train into work.
Not long ago, we got into this wild marathon email where we starting discussing deeply writing – the ins and outs – where to publish – how to publish, the whole ball of wax. And it got positively addictive. It got to the point where we were each jonesing for the next response. We even had discussions about posting it on his blog. But realized that only a lunatic or a psychic would be able to follow it. It’s done us both good. And I hope it continues to do us both good. Keep us inspired and motivated.
Recently, he went on vacation and asked me to babysit his blog. Frankly, I was a little scared. I’d read his blog and hell I’ve read his writing. A little intimidating to say the least. I was sure his ‘readers’ wouldn’t like my style. That it would be a shock to the system to go from warm, gentle Renassaince Man to whacky, who the hell knows what’s firing those synapses Writer Chick. But…I like a challenge and try to force myself to do things that scare me.
So, I’ve struggled along this last week. Trying hard to entertain the troops in his absence. I hope I have done him justice. Cuz he’s a helluva guy and a true Renassaince Man is a modern world gone (almost ) mad.