Monday, January 8, 2007

In Memorium (again) . . . Bye, Jack

I am immensely saddened by the loss (again) of my blogging idol, Jack. His blog, Texas Music, was a daily stop for me. Jack's blog was filled with some of the best writing I have had the pleasure to stumble across in this vast wasteland. His stories of drug busts, and victory and agony on the mean streets brought some of his reality into my quiet little space, far removed from the gritty underbelly that he willingly crawled into, day after day.

Jack left once before, and when he did, I posted an old chestnut that I wrote way, way back in June of 2004 (that is an ETERNITY in blogland.) In honor of the passing of Texas Music, I would like to post it yet again. Feels like the right thing to do.

Just a housekeeping note: I will sorrowfully remove Jack's link (again) from my Favorites list, and add a few new little spaces that I enjoy visiting pretty regularly. It's a bittersweet change, but I think that Fred Sanford (portrayed by the inimitable Redd Foxx) explained it best when he tearfully called up to his dearly departed wife, Elizabeth, on the eve of his marriage to his long-suffering girlfriend, Donna, "Honey, she could never take your place, but I just miss you so bad, and I'm so lonely, I just needed to fill your space."

Preach on, Fred.

Thanks for everything you posted, Jack. You will be sorely missed.

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If you lived in a friendly neighborhood for awhile, and made good friends with the neighbors, you would say goodbye if you moved away, right?

Not so in the world of Blog.

Reading the thoughts of another creates a very strange intimacy, and whether it is "real" or not, a friendship. I have a list of blogs that I am quite fond of. Over time, I have begun to build and actually feel a sense of community with my fellow bloggers, those that I visit every week.

Come to think of it, making my rounds of my favorite blogs is a lot like taking an evening stroll around my neighborhood. Checking in with frequently updated blogs is kind of like passing a busy house with kids in the yard, flowers on the porch, and someone giving you a friendly wave. You can stop, listen to what they have to say - happy or sad, offer up your own little impressions, and move on, secure in the knowledge that the friendship is solid. Occasionally, you might notice that someone has completed some bloggy home improvements, and you can cast an appreciative glance from your vantage point on the virtual sidewalk, maybe by leaving a comment like "Hey! Nice template change! Easier to read, and the colors are great!"

Sometimes, you pass a blog and realize that you haven't seen much change there for the past few weeks. As a matter of fact, the comments left by other passersby are like so many virtual soggy newspapers littering the driveway, and you figure your friend must be on an extended vacation. You pass by, day after day, not expecting to see them back and then one day you are pleased to see that all the newspapers are cleaned up, the lights are on, and they have, indeed, returned. More times than not, you are immediately given a guilt-ridden explanation of their absence, and maybe hear a little about their travels, see a few snapshots.

Again, everything is back in order.

Then there are those times that you walk toward a well-loved blog home and are shocked to see broken blinds dangling in dark, lifeless windows; the front door has been carelessly left wide open, revealing an empty shell where your friend once dwelled. And you think to yourself: what? no goodbye? after all of the time we spent sharing thoughts and experiences, they could just leave in the night and not say a word?

So, with a startling mixture of emotions (disappointment, rejection and ill-placed anger), you make a mental note not to bother to stop there anymore, and begin to wonder hopelessly if it is worth it to bother getting to know the neighbors at all. But then, in the midst of your thoughts, you spot a sign that you hadn't noticed before, and wonder who lives on "Next Blog" street. Allowing your customary path to be diverted, you decide to "just take a look" and inevitably see a moving truck parked at a house down the block, moving a new occupant in who seems to be both lost and eager to meet you all at once, and you think to yourself: I wonder what his story is?

And so it goes . . .

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