Saturday, May 11, 2013

I Lost a Friend, But Not His Inspiration

My last blog post was in February. I never post regularly, even when I first started in 2006, but I really put a halt on things when I started screenwriting.

Blogging provides me an outlet for sharing my thoughts, satisfaction of a "completed" work, and the feeling of validation when I get comments, or likes, or spam bots dropping a URL. But it kept me from my other writing, so I told myself I'd hold on the blogging until the screenplay (I'm in a six-month online course and halfway through a comedy screenplay) and pilot (I'm writing a sit com) are done. But, if something compels me, I'll write a post.

In February, after three days in a row of getting cut off by people right-turning on red into live traffic (meaning me), I got pissed and posted.

Well, a colleague, friend, and constant cheerleader has compelled me to blog again.

Dennis J. Lane,  one of our most prolific local writers, and my friend, was murdered yesterday. I'm not a journalist and feel no need to share the details. They're all over the news. Some of them accurate. But I couldn't let these last 24 hours go by without writing something.

A bunch of us local bloggers got together at Clyde's yesterday because, frankly, we needed each other. Like I said, I rarely blog these days, but I see these folks all the time. In daily errands, in events, for lunch, through social media. I always feel welcome. And I always feel connected.

And, Dennis. Dennis always knew what I was up to, would point out anything I might have done that made him laugh, and wanted to know what was coming next. He had an ability to see what was important to me, and drop a spotlight on it. I'm gonna miss that.

Dennis and Paul Skalny have hosted a wonderful podcast called "And Then There's That" on HoCoMoJo for years. I had a podcast for a minute. They were even kind enough to interview me. Dennis would prod me: "When are your doing another one?" When he knew my focus had switched to screenwriting, that's all he asked about. Writing is writing. And we both shared the love of it.

I saw Dennis Thursday morning. After everything that's happened, I now have to say I was privileged and blessed to have seen Dennis on Thursday morning.

I was in line at a Starbucks (yeah, I'm that guy now), and I hear "Michael." Most people call me "Mike" but I'm not really particular about it, and the way Dennis said my name, I always knew it was going to be followed with something that made me smile.

On Thursday, it was "Michael. How's that web series coming along?" Another project I've been involved with (and with another group of awesome, supportive, funny writers) for over a year. And he knows I can't wait for it to air.

"Great, Dennis. We've posted two promos."

"Yeah, they were pretty funny" -- jeez, he found time to watch the videos. And dropped my favorite compliment: "funny".

"We've got four editors working with us and are hoping for June."

"That's great."

Then I put in my order, he put in his, and I went off to doctor my coffee. I didn't ask Dennis how he was doing. I'm also that guy sometimes.

Tom Coale, another friend and blogger, mentioned in his wonderful piece on Dennis today that he couldn't find any pictures of he and Dennis together.

So I went to Dennis' blog from a post in February to find a picture I remember of Dennis and I together. Nope. It was a picture taken by Dennis. And a funny one at that. Where I focus inwardly, sometimes to the point of narcissism, Dennis had an eye for everything, and everyone, around him. When I was with Dennis, it was never about him.

When I was leaving Starbucks, I saw Dennis was sitting with another gentlemen, both of them in suits (he looked pretty fucking dapper); I knew he was talking business. I almost kept going. I didn't want to interrupt. But then I thought, he made a point of saying hello, and letting me know he's pulling for me and my endeavors. I touched his shoulder and said "Nice to see you, Dennis." He smiled and said "Take care, Michael."

"Take care, Dennis... You. Are. Missed."


Perry Block said...

Sounds like a heck of a guy and this is quite a tribute. Don't know what happened and don't need to know, it's always good to see how people touch one another whenever it happens.

Mike said...

Thanks, Perry. There truly is this intangible yet perpetual connection between writers, bloggers, comics, observers that I can't put into words, but it "completes me".

Yeah, I just said that. :-)