Strange Days

I just got word online that the founder of Subreality.com and the Subreality Cafe mailing list, Kelle, passed away last night from colon cancer. She was only 33 years old.

This hasn’t been a good year for people whose ideas have sparked my own creativity. This past May, Dennard Summers, who produced a public access TV show in Pittsburgh called The House of Yes (which later morphed into Steel City Video Mix) passed away suddenly in his sleep at 38. Dennard used video effects to make the hostesses and models on his show invisible, while their clothing remained visible. I had always especially enjoyed movies which depicted invisible characters, especially when the character was female. Occasionally I would fantasize about meeting (and getting involved with) an invisible woman. Seeing Dennard’s site told me that I wasn’t the only one that had such thoughts, and that got me started writing stories and editing photos, and also got me started looking around online for other expressions of creativity.

Among other sites and ideas, I found Subreality, which is depicted as a kind of way station for story characters between stories or even between chapters of a single story. That also got ideas flowing, including a kind of Subreality fanfic I’m in the middle of now. Kielle wrote comic-book-inspired fanfics, and came up with an idea of an interdimensional place where different versions of the same character could interact with one another. The stories set in and around Subreality also depended heavily on character muses (muses “created” by the writer, rather than the classical muses of Greek myth, though they’re also included), who inspire(d) the creativity of those who added stories and/or artwork to the sprawling online complex that makes up Subreality.com. (EDIT: Eventually someone else got the domain name but allowed Kielle’s site to remain as a subdomain. Today, though, the domain belongs to a totally-unrelated medieval reenactment site.)

I guess hearing of the passing of these people who played a part in unlocking my own creativity are reminders of my own mortiality. I had no idea that Kielle had been sick until I saw a post last night from Kielle’s husband, stating that she probably had only days to live. And as far as I know, Dennard hadn’t been sick at all, though I don’t really have much info to back that up. I, on the other hand, have been battling with illness of one kind or another for about eleven years now — kidney and heart problems, leading to dialysis and a kidney transplant in 2004, and a hip operation in 2005 — though the evidence suggests that I’ve always had a hampered immune system.

I guess what I’m trying to say here, though I’ve been rambling, is that we have to treasure each day as it comes and make the most of it, since we don’t know what’s waiting around the corner. Reach out to other people and let them know how much they mean to you (and let them show you what you mean to them). Friends and loved ones will do and say things to get on your nerves — they meay even cause you great pain — but do what you can to make and keep peace, since no one knows when those loved ones may be taken away, or when we may meet with our own demise.

Natural disasters like Hurricanes Katrina and Rita underscore the point I’m trying to make. When Katrina clipped Florida, no one knew what devastation was to come. In fact, they still don’t know the total scope and may not know for months. Rita is a category 5 and may remain one when it comes ashore in Texas or Louisiana tonight or tomorrow, causing untold destruction and loss of life in the impact zone, and adding to the problems in the New Orleans area and southern Mississippi. Imagine some poor soul who hadn’t spoken to a parent, child, or sibling for many years, only to find out that the person you should have treasured is no longer there. Suddenly the argument that seemed so important no longer matters, and the opportunity to apologize and make peace is taken away.

Again, I know I’m rambling, so I’ll cut this short. But treasure every day as the gift it is, and treasure family and friends as the gifts they are.

Comment reposted from my old blog:

Dale Jackson said…

Bryan,
This is Dale. I know what you mean about telling loved ones about
things. My oldest sister told me about a week ago that she has got cancer in her
lung and her back (Type 4, the worst kind). She is taking chemo, but the doctors
are saying that there is no reason to operate, as it’s too far gone.

What I am leading up to is my sisters and my brother were never close to me
before (I was the “white sheep” of the family) and I have already lost the only brother I have ever known to a heart attack. My sister is dying from cancer and I pray every day that a miracle will happen, as long as it is in God’s will. I don’t
ask for immortality, just for peace. Peace of mind that she won’t suffer, or
peace to the family to understand that her death will have meaning.

Regardless, friends and family are too important to forget. I think
that as long as we remember the ones who have passed on, they will live on
as long as we do.

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