My friend Joey died last night
I’ve never met him in person but nonetheless felt extremely close to him, which probably has everything to do with his warm, welcoming demeanor, his fantastic sense of humor, his inclusive manner, the way he cared so much about someone who was essentially a stranger.
It’s odd how you can create friendships in this modern age. Joey started an online writing group about a year and a half ago. We originally work-shopped a new short story or novel chapter each week, posting comments on a private message board and using Google + for live discussions. Joey was passionate about writing; his and everyone else’s. Some writing feedback feels superfluous, as if people were just going through the motions. Joey’s always felt attentive, careful, thoughtful and very, very smart. He expressed concern for your characters and for you while you fashioned them. He was funny, he gave great recommendations, not only writing tips but reading suggestions as well. He loved literature, books, writing, the process and loved discussing all of these subjects at length, with passion and intelligence and poise, but he also never took anything too seriously. I was always so pleased the times we were talking online and I made him laugh the way I’m always happy when I make anyone laugh whom I greatly respect and hold in esteem.
Joey was incredibly talented too. He was writing a young adult comic book-based gay romance. And it was incredible. You have no idea, I wish I could tell you how lovely and audacious it was. Part of the tragedy of his death is that this enormous personality, so warm and expansive even when only shared over cold, modern technology is gone, but there’s another part of me that will mourn his work, mourn its incomplete status, mourn the fact that I’ll never get to finish it, that it itself will never be finished. I also mourn that I never got to meet him face to face, or to thank him for all of his comments, his friendship, his personality.
You should read his work. Please. A lot of it is collected on this website. Read it and mourn with me. This is a man who deserved to be listened to, a man whose work deserved to be read and respected. You might not choose to do this, you might think it’s not worth your time, you did not know this person after all, but his life and writing and art and work should not be a secret, should not be left in the dark. His writing deserves to be read as much as Joey still deserves to be alive. Not sharing it or reading it is as unjustified as his life tragically ending far too early.
Rest in peace, Joey. And thank you.