I posted the following over at Prospero’s obit:
To Michael’s friends and family,
Michael’s passing poses a very 21st-century quandary: How to sincerely acknowledge the passing of someone I’d never met, couldn’t identify in a lineup and yet still feel I “know” — via his near-daily participation in the comments section of my blog.
In fact, it was his silence on the passing of Phil Everly that led one of our number to wonder why we hadn’t heard from him in a while. As he was one of the few who knew “Prospero’s” real name, he googled and got the bad news.
We knew Michael as amazingly intelligent, eccentrically knowledgeable and never boring. His interests, his passions and, of course, his colorful vocabulary — all set him apart from the rest of us mortals.
We who knew him at nancynall.com will miss him mightily. Please know you have our condolences, and best wishes for comfort.
I also plan to make a donation to his charity — Second Helpings of Hilton Head, S.C. — and if any of you are so inclined, I’m sure it would be appreciated.
If you’re just joining us, go check out the previous comments thread. Pros’ daughter and at least one other relative checked in to say thanks for the good wishes.
What a strange world we have constructed, where we are having a virtual wake for a virtual stranger, although someone we “know” via the internet and communicate with, or hear from, almost every day.
Perhaps more will be revealed. I hope so.
I sometimes wonder what would happen if I checked out suddenly. J.C. is in charge of the NN.c archive, and can do with it as he likes. Maybe there’s a book in these millions of words. Maybe there’s a new blogmaster or mistress who wants to wrangle the commenting community. At some point it won’t matter.
I have links, but I think I’ll save them for tomorrow. For now, the news of Prospero’s death cut short the Tonya Harding thread, and late in the day, a newcomer posted this comment, and it bears repeating:
What I recall, though, was how completely and utterly (Harding) reminded me of the people I knew who came from the same parts of Clackamas County she did. These were people who were just accidents waiting to happen, a deadly combination of barely-bright, poorly-educated, indisciplined-and-almost-undisciplinable shit magnets. “Bad stuff” just “happened” to them; car wrecks, arrests, lost jobs, lost husbands and wives. Tonya was a kind of patron saint for those people. She WAS them, just a little bigger, a little sparklier, a little better known.
You Jim Harrison fans might enjoy this:
Once I start, I very rarely change my mind about the nature of the story. And when I begin writing, it’s sound that guides me—language, not plot. Plot can be overrated. What I strive for more is rhythm. When you have the rhythm of a character, the novel becomes almost like a musical composition. It’s like taking dictation, when you’re really attuned to the rhythm of that voice.
You can’t go to it. It has to come to you. You have to find the voice of the character. Your own voice should be irrelevant in a novel. Bad novels are full of opinions, and the writer intruding, when you should leave it to your character.
I love Jim Harrison, but most of his characters sound very similar to one another, but oh well –he’s right about this.
Me, I have a big day Wednesday, and should prepare for it. Let’s all stay this side of the soil for one more, eh?