Friday, May 31, 2013

Remembering Sam

Today, I remember Sam who died nearly a year ago.

We worked in the same general department at an investments firm for more than ten years, though never on the same team.  I can't remember how we started talking, only that he started the conversation, because I would have been too shy.  Over the years, we intermittently discussed books, and movies, and stories in general.  He thought it pretty doggone cool that I spend so much of my time writing stories.

He always asked how the writing was going.  I always said it was great, whether it was or not.  He offered a number of times to read and critique my stories.

I never took him up on it.

Didn't matter that few had read my stories.  He always thought that my attempts were amazing.

Stupid me.  I took his awe with a grain of salt.  Oh, I thanked him.  I did that.  But in my heart, it had the same level of sincerity as if someone opened a door for me:  immediately appreciated, but forgotten a second later.

He asked my opinion on books I'd read.  I turned him on to Harry Potter and, years later, The Hunger Games.  He brought a couple of his favorites for me to read.  One I liked, and told him so.  One I didn't care for, but told him I liked it all the same.

I had no clue about the depths of the man's loneliness.

According to company policy, they cannot intervene until an employee misses three days of work.  By that time, Sam had been dead for at least three days.  He apparently died in his sleep, fifty-nine years old, only five years older than me.

Heart attack?  Aneurism?  I still don't know.  But does it matter?

Three days?  No one missed him for three days?  Except the company he worked for?

I've heard many paradoxes about writing, and have participated in more than a few of those discussions.  And, for me the most poignant is how much time we spend alone trying to communicate.



I've noticed a number of changes I've made or attempted to make in my life since Sam died.  I've started reaching out to others, and it's been a HUGE risk for this inherently shy man, whose years of acting taught him how to APPEAR outgoing without REVEALING a damn thing.

I belong to two writers groups.  In one, The Writerie, I'm the only man of five members.  In the other, The Wayward Writers, I'm one of four men out of seventy-eight members.

When a member of the Wayward Writers requested that we save dates for a campout next month, I took a HUGE risk (for me) and asked if gentlemen were invited.  She said yes without question. 

I booked it, flight and all.

And I was scared to death that some may not venture forth because I ... a man ...  had booked the trip.

What a ridiculous fear!

A year and a half ago, I would have found a way to back out.  Now, I'm soooo looking forward to communing with fellow writers as I do at the writers conferences that I attend.

This last President's Day, I attended the San Francisco Writers Conference knowing no one.  I took risks (for me) and joined several wonderful folks for dinner and drinks, and no one found me wanting.

I even allowed my picture to be taken!  Whoa!

In April, I finished the A-Z blog challenge, and had so much fun and am now following SOOO many wonderful blogs! 

What a lesson to learn when I'm fifty-five years old.

What a lesson to learn because a man died.

It's just that I'm now seeing life pass me by faster and faster.  I've lived much more than half my life.

I'm learning things quickly.

And ... I'm so sorry that I didn't invite Sam out for a drink to discuss ... stories ... novels ... whatever.

It wouldn't have prevented his death, I know.  But it might have made his life a little less lonely.

I hope he's singing with the angels.


  1. Still learning the same lesson and having difficulty with it. I'm so happy for you that you have taken the chance and found it worthwhile. Surely Sam is happy now.

  2. I hope he is, too.

    Keep on keeping on, Rocky. Big kudos to you for striving to grow - you're light years ahead of many who refuse to even realize they've room to do so. I, too, am learning to be bold, in my own way. We can do it, Dude. Totes! :-)

    Some Dark Romantic

  3. Delores - I don't think we'll ever stop learning that lesson.

    Mina - Thanks! We can definitely do it! And thanks for the good wishes. It'll be a great camp-out!

  4. Wow Rocky. You just made Sam's life meaningful. What a beautiful piece. RIP Sam.

  5. Rocky, you just gave Sam's life more meaning. I wish I was going camping so I could meet you in person - you and Bonnie would be the main reasons I'd go!! RIP Sam.

    1. Thank you Jodie. I wish you were coming, too. Think about the San Francisco Writers Conference next February. I'm going to post in the Wayward Writers Lounge soon. Maybe we can have a contingent at the conference.


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