I came home last night to the news that we'd lost John Lavery. I knew he'd been sick. Two days ago when I talked to Steve and Cathy Zytveld from the Dusty Owl, they said they'd spoken to him that day and, in Cathy's words, he sounded like "he's leaving."
But I certainly wasn't expecting it. Even though I've known a long time that he had cancer. I wasn't expecting it this soon. It's always too soon.
There were gorgeous photos of John passed around on the social networks, and words of grief from the writing community on their statuses. And I couldn't think of anything to say that didn't sound empty. I didn't want to say anything in 140 characters or less, and I really didn't want to 'retweet' something someone else had said, although I tried, a few times, and hit 'cancel.' For one thing, this sort of news always sits wrong for me on a system like Twitter or Facebook, which are designed to be chirpy, full of LOLs and LMAOs. I couldn't think of anything to say in that brightly lit, neon space.
So I didn't say anything, although I felt I should. I didn't know John as well as a lot of people around me did, but I could have listened to him read - or sing - for hours without ever getting tired of it. He went unaccountably unrecognized by the national scene, but his writing, his lyrics, and his musical talent were utterly wonderful.
So I cried, but couldn't say anything. And then last night I dreamed about a guitar that had warped and broken - the neck twisted and the box cracked. It would never sing again, and I woke up sorrowful.