Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Death In the Family

One of the reasons I started this blog a little over three years ago was to try to process the grief in dealing with the death of Mark Evans, one of my closest friends. It was, I'd have to say, successful. This blog gave me an outlet for dealing with my feelings of loss. Even better, it helped me connect with kindred spirits-- people whose creativity, intelligence and gentleness reminded me of Mark's. Even as my commitments to family, school and work have reduced the amount of time I can devote to reading other blogs and posting on my own, I still relish the time I can steal a moment and check on the blogs I enjoy.

One of the things that I enjoy about reading other peoples' blogs, and one of the reasons that blogs will still be around after peoples' infatuation with Facebook and Twitter dies down, is the remarkable diversity of the people whose blogs I've come to enjoy. With the massive reading requirements of school reducing my "reading for pleasure" book-reading essentially to zero, I've come to depend on my blog-reading to keep me sane and in touch. I love Erik's wonderful mix of art, history, politics and the personal; Barbara's always witty posts about music, family and occasionally politics; Bubs' observations on the weird and the wonderful; Churlita's thoughts on life as an intelligent and arty fish in a small Iowa pond; Mob's always pithily funny, sometimes caustic commentary on life and horror movies.

One of the bloggers I got to know through reading Mob's blog was Macguffin. Not only did he have the best "blog name" I've ever heard-- a Macguffin is an object in a movie that drives the plot (think "The Maltese Falcon" in the movie of the same name or the Ark of Covenant in "Indiana Jones"), but he had the best blog premise ever. He simply posted pictures of old movie posters and had a little history on the poster-- the style, the influences, etc.

Macguffin didn't post very often, but when he did, it was a treat. I have zero artistic talent and not much more knowledge about art-- but a consuming love of it. Macguffin's posts gave me an eye where I had none.

A couple of nights ago, I checked his blog and discovered that Macguffin recently took his own life. Mob was kind enough to contact me and tell me a little bit about what went on. Macguffin was, I'm pretty sure, his closest friend.

This morning, I dragged out my dog-eared copy of Harper Lee's "To Kill A Mockingbird" and re-read the last couple of chapters. Like every other person in America, I read the book in eighth grade and didn't really comprehend it until I re-read it as an adult. If you remember, the title comes from Atticus Finch's admonishment not to kill a mockingbird-- that mockingbirds give joy to people with their song; it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.

At the end of the book, when Boo Radley saves Atticus' children's lives, Atticus understands the need to go along with the Sheriff's lie that Bob Ewell fell on his own knife. Scout, the book's main character, also realizes the necessity of going along with that lie-- in order to protect her protector. "Well," she says, "it'd be sort of like shootin' a mockingbird, wouldn't it?" As she says this, she is completely oblivous to the fact that for years, she and her brother Jem had been the mockingbirds to a sad, lonely man. It's one of the most powerful endings to a book ever.

I never met Macguffin, but I'll miss him. I feel sad that a person who brought a little beauty into my life once in a while couldn't find the joy he needed to continue. I hope he finds the peace in sleep that he couldn't find in life. My condolences to Mob and to Macguffin's other friends and family.


Churlita said...

That is so sad. I hate it when I hear that people are in that much emotional pain.

Thanks for the shout-out!

SkylersDad said...

That is just terrible to hear. I have often wondered what it must take to drive somebody to take their own life.

Erik Donald France said...

Jesus, that's horrible to hear. Thank you for this post, and man, for all the reasons you detail, it's a deep loss.

bubbles said...

I've often wondered how we would find out about fellow bloggers if something happened to them - unless we knew blogger that knows them. There are a few people in this world that, in spite of me never talking to them, I would want to know what happened to them.

I'm sorry for Macguffin and his family and friends. The darkness that brings that choice must be a terrible place.

Mob said...

Thank you for honoring the man, I think it would mean a lot to him to know that he touched lives as far away from Chicago just by being himself and exploring his hobbies on the web.

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