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Monday, 13 July 2015

A tribute to Randy Johnson - rest in peace, sir.

Social Media has changed people's lives and I'm hurting at the moment at the loss of a man I'd never met in person, though knew well thanks to the reach of the Internet. I first became aware of Randy Johnson when he reviewed my first novel, Tarnished Star. He emailed me several times, telling me how much he enjoyed the book and he also followed my blog. He directed me to his own blog, Not the Baseball Pitcher, which I promptly followed. Randy's interests were much along the lines of my own - he loved westerns and classic crime movies and each time I published a new book, Randy was one of the first customers to click that buy button and he didn't fail to review any of my titles.

Randy made a network of friends with similar interests and I myself am honoured to be a part of that community, and I know that there are a lot of people like myself who are hurting by this devastating loss. People who's lives Randy enriched with his prescence.

Randy was blogging to the end, posting  right up to the day he passed on. And this week the following was posted on Randy's blog -

By the time you read this, I will be gone. My health is not what it should be these days, the result of a lifetime of doing all the wrong things.

I just want to take the time to say good-bye to those of you out there I’ve come to know in the internet land. I’ve never met any of you and never expected to, but I consider you friends and hope you do the same. The same likes and interests brought us together.

It made my life better to a degree to follow your blogs each day, to laugh or cry at the things you posted on, to participate in discussions on various subjects. My disability kept me confined to the house for the most part. I can go in my car on a limited basis to any place where I didn’t have to get out(kind of limits destinations though). Mostly it is just trips to doctors. 

I live alone. Family members or friends call or come by every day to help out(I don’t know how I’d have made it without them), but I’m alone most of the day. So mostly my world consisted of books, my computer, and television in that order.

One thing I’ve missed the last few years is going to the brick and mortar book stores. My little town had a Waldenbooks, but it closed a few years back, and there are no others, not even a used store. The nearest city with bookstores is thirty-eight miles away. It has the usual chains and a couple of independents as well, though bookstores in general are slowly starting to disappear.

The internet and Amazon made it possible for me to get books delivered here. That was only good for things I knew about though. That stumbling across the occasional little gem was a thing of the past except for all you folks’ blogs. Especially Patti Abbott’s Forgotten Books on Fridays. That brought a wealth of new finds for me(I wish I could have afforded all of them). But I found recommendations from all of you that I might never have tried otherwise.

Thank You!
It’s been a lot of fun. I’m saving this post and will have a family member post the particulars when the time comes.
Good Bye to all!

Thank you, sir. It's been an honour knowing you and I appreciate all the support you gave regarding my writing and the friendship you offered. I knew the vague details of your illness but you were a brave man and your blog seldom mentioned your ills. You remained cheerful, despite all you were going through, and supported many writers with your  insightful reviews. I have just submitted a new western to my publishers and have promptly sent off an email so that the dedication reads: In memory of Randy Johnson, fan and friend. It's a small gesture I know but one, I think, Randy would have liked.

 You were and remain a truly wonderful person.

You will not be forgotten.


Nik Morton said...

I endorse your sentiments, Gary, wholeheartedly. We've lost a friend.

Charles Gramlich said...

A damn good fellow.