Goodbye Sam

I wrote this last Wednesday and sent it to a few mutual friends.

My friend Sam died Thursday.  We’d both gone to little Vicksburg High and big Michigan, he a year ahead of me, but we didn’t interact much beyond teams and organizations, until a few years back when we connected on Facebook.  We enjoyed each others’ posts enough to arrange a lunch in Santa Fe – Sam lived in nearby Los Alamos working at the National Lab – as Kathy and I passed through to see her brother Bob 3 Decembers ago en route to my sabbatical in San Diego.  We later saw Sam and his wife June at their nearby home then and twice again more: next spring at their new retirement home in the Rockies and finally in Santa Fe again last August.  Of course we kept up electronically, and from June’s text 2 weeks ago I learned Sam had been sick since September and was in ICU.  Monday June texted his doctors said there was no more they could do and she was putting him in hospice.  He died 3 days later at 5:30 in the morning, mountain time.   In pulling some pictures off Facebook to add to something I would distribute to mutual friends, I came across a 3 day old post from his best friend Gary, who spelled out that Sam had an auto-immune disease that had affected several of his organs, leaving him too sick to receive the liver transplant he needed.  So the bastard had one of my diseases!  And a rare one at that, based on my guess at his diagnosis.  Sam was always unique.  I had so looked forward to being his friend in these leisure years.  We complemented each other.  He was the smart, funny, collegial guy I’d always hoped to become, and I was the egghead classmate who’d made it in academia, a little, at our old alma mater.   I pray for his wife June, a strong funny woman in her own right, who was childless by Sam and now won’t get to dote on him in his old age like Kathy does with me.  There’s a big crowd out there shocked by Sam’s passing and missing him terribly, and I’m sure right there with them.  If you begin to notice my posts and writings are a little goofier and more mundane, that’s Sam whispering in my ear to lay off the serious stuff and write what people might actually care about and find entertaining.  Thanks Sam.  It was too damn short but I’ll never forget you.

Introduce Yourself (Example Post)

This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.

You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
  • Because it will help you focus you own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.

Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.

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